iOS Game Review – Maddening (Andrew McCluskey)

You’ve probably heard of the popular Game Maker game for Windows madnessMADNESSmadness.  In the game you are a small black figure who is running away from a large, red wall that chases after you in a loop.  After that came REMADDENING where you did the exact same thing, but the wall and figure could be any colour you could create.  In REMADDENING you could also choose to play different game modes, such as a randomly generated level.  Both of these games had no end, and you had to keep going until you died.  The goal was to get the best high score by running as long as possible.

Well what if I told you that everything you knew from the “madness series” was wrong?  That’s right, the games have been shrunk and are now playable on two mobile devices; the iPod/iPhone and the iPad.  Actually that’s not exactly right.  The games’ “plot” have been shrunk, not the games themselves.  Maddening by Andrew McCluskey has a similar idea, where you run away from a wall, but this time there IS an end.  The real goal of this game is not to get a high score, but rather to get to the end without dieing.  Along the way you have to avoid goo traps, spikes, and “push arrows” while jumping on bouncy buttons and collecting “circles of insanity”.

The game’s graphics are very minimal.  The sprites are single coloured and are very “pixely” which I found annoying.  The sprites in the other madness games for the PC looked a lot smoother than the mobile version, presumably because of the smaller resolution. Unfortunately the font used wasn’t the same as the one from the PC games either, and also looked very pixely.  There is also a lot of space above the “wheel” (near the top) that could have been used to fit bigger scaled sprites.  I also felt that the button sprites to control movement looked a bit rushed and didn’t fit the style of the others, which brings me to my next topic; controls.

All you have to do in Maddening is move left, move right, and jump.  It may sound easy, but depending on the difficulty it can get very hard (madness is the highest difficulty and it is very hard.)  Though my thumb isn’t big (compared to what I think is average thumb size), I had a hard time pressing the jump button on the bottom right corner of the screen.  It is tucked so far into the corner that sometimes I’d try to jump and couldn’t because I accidentally clicked off screen.

The music was good and did fit the style of the game but got a little annoying.  The jump sound was also a bit annoying which made me turn the volume down.  When I did this I noticed that the volume slider was upside down!  Just a little thing, but a bug nonetheless.

The achievements in Maddening.

The achievement system was very simple but well implanted and made up for the lack of online high scores.

Overall, Maddening is a pretty good game but I felt it wasn’t as good as it’s previous successors.  Still, it is one of the first Game Maker games to be ported to a portable device.  Is it worth a dollar?  Maybe, but there is a lot of competition on the App Store and many other games are selling for a dollar that I find better.  If you think it looks good then support both Andrew and YoYo Games by buying it right here!

What do you think?

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  1. They’re doing something horrible and nasty to get that pixelated effect, like using a bitmap for the rotating shape!

    Look at any other app on the app store and you don’t see it.

    They’ve done well to get this far with a “working” product, but this isn’t a good start. They need to create a great impression with perfect ported games.

    As many people have said, to make an iOS game, start from scratch. You have no choice. You really can’t move Microsofty code to a new platform and expect it to work like it did before. It’s just gross and nasty.

    Because all the iOS games are small, people have high expectations. They can survive on the press from this site and their site, but once they start releasing loads of games, they’ll just become another publisher. And most publishers make better games than this.

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