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Review: Minotaur Rescue - Won't Somebody Think Of The Monsters?

Review: Minotaur Rescue - Won't Somebody Think Of The Monsters?

January 30, 2011


Minotaur Rescue is, in a nutshell, a strongly retro styled game based on old popular arcade games. Simply take control of a spaceship, airplane or tank to save the minotaurs!


The game features eye popping retro graphics, old school sounds, three distinct game types, gesture controls and Game Center support for both achievements and high scores.

The Good

All in all, the app is a refreshingly trippy retro feast, that will impress anyone that grew up during the 80's, amid smoky arcades and coin hungry machines. Each of the included game has a highly amusing back story that plays if you leave the game at the title screen, just like the attract mode of an old arcade machine. You can also read detailed help and a history of the game from the info option. Solar Minotaur Rescue Frenzy casts you as a tiny, triangular Asteroids style ship and tasks you with blasting asteroids to reveal minotaurs, which you fly over to save. There is a sun in the center of the screen that sucks in everything on screen, including you, so you must save the minotaurs before they reach the sun and explode. You only get points for saving the minotaurs, so you can keep playing no matter how many you let die. A neat twist is that the closer you let the minotaurs get to the sun and their death, the more points they give you, so playing riskily is the best way to get high scores. The more minotaurs you save without dying, the faster you fire as well (your weapon is upgraded from the smell of minotaurs...really!) until you unload a solid steam of fire. The game can get very intense, as later levels will see you constantly dodging and firing, as the screen is flooded with rocks and doomed minotaurs. Deep Space Minotaur Madness is the same, but there is no sun in this one, so its a much tamer experience and not nearly as frenetic as the Solar version. There is no real reason to play it. Tanks! is an updated version of the classic Combat game on the Atari 2600. For those too young to remember, Combat was a game where you piloted your tank vs another player's tank and tried to shoot each other. There were many mazes to choose from and there were even variants, such as tank pong where your bullets bounced off walls and one where your bullets could go "behind" the screen and appear on the other side. Tanks! is like that game, except with trippy trail effects and with the inclusion of minotaurs that you can collect to upgrade your fire rate. Collecting a minotaur also allows you to spray a stream of lead for a second or two and each minotaur you collect increases the points you get for shooting your opponent until you are next shot,  this adds a strategic wrinkle to the simple game. Tanks! supports 1-4 players, so this can be great fun with a few friends. Jets! is much like tanks, but instead you're flying a squadron of jet planes.  Jets! is based off a variant in Combat where you flew planes instead, but in this version each plane is an individual and can be targeted and destroyed after a few shots. New planes continue to join the squadron, until that player runs out of lives. Jets! tends to be a bit overwhelming because of the massive amount of smoke and bullets on screen, but it support 2 players and takes some strategy, as the best way to win is to get behind your opponent, so they can't shoot back and the fact you can go behind the screen makes this very easy to do. This is a good mix of games and since they are all multiplayer  Minotaur Rescue is perfect to fire up any time you have a few minutes with or without friends, as the AI does a good job of being a challenging opponent. Minotaur Rescue feature great graphics full of homages to classic games, like the classic Combat mazes in Tanks! and the same cloud pattern in Jets! as the original game had. The graphics are pixelated and low res like old games and the game's soft focus, bright colors and psychedelic trails give it a very eye catching look. Minotaur Rescue looks like no other game on the iPad. The sound echos the graphics, with plenty of bleepy sounds, white noise bursts and warm fanfares that will have you pining for the old days. The game goes the extra mile in its presentation. When you choose a game, you can read all the background information about it and a detailed tutorial with rainbow text. When you put your finger on the screen it sparkles and the menu has an odd fish eye lens feel with translucent elements. It's obvious much attention was lavished on this game to make it look as snappy as it does.

The Bad

Minotaur Rescue features very simple gameplay, so this might be a turn off for some people. The game is obviously a retro throwback, so anyone who goes into this expecting a epic game, rather than a delicious chunk of old school goodness will be sorely disappointed. The controls can also sometimes annoy. The tanks in Tanks! feel rather stiff to control and only move a certain amount when you swipe to move them, rather than just moving until you lift your finger off the screen. The Jets! game also feels very frenetic and you hardly feel in control most of the time.

The Verdict

Minotaur Rescue is a fun set of games for a bargain price. It is worth 99c easily, despite some annoying control issues and is worth buying for anyone who wants a unique experience on their iPad.

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