Friday, September 2, 2011

Spooky Hoofs - 0.99 (Gamesmold)

Spooky Hoofs is a new endless runner from Gamesmold. In it, you guide a stagecoach through woods and marshes collecting orbs for power-ups and avoiding holes, monsters and bosses. The game is semi-level based, in that you will always start in one of 3 randomly generated “first-levels”, but then after the first 3 levels, and after you defeat 3 bosses in a row, you move onto the harder section of the game, seeing enemies and bosses that you will never see within the first 3 levels. The end of each level is sectioned off by a boss battle and then a quick ride past another tavern. Each of the levels is generated based on what power-ups you have, and what kind of enemies there are. For instance, if you’re in a section that doesn’t have a lot of holes, you’ll face more ground enemies. In a section with lots of holes, you’ll face more flying enemies, and in a section where you have the double jump power-up, you’ll face lots of long holes and a pretty decent mixture of both types of enemies. Each of the boss battle sections are scripted, so that the difficulty stays fair and the choreography of the bosses works with the jumps and shots. This intelligent random design makes the game extremely well balanced as you’re progressing through the endless run.

The graphics in Spooky Hoofs are great, and have a similar style to Castlevania, which is awesome, and it‘s given to us in retina display, which makes it even better. The animations for the stagecoach, enemies, and bosses are done extremely well, making the flow of the game, and the gameplay, feel very professional and polished. The scoring is also done very well, separated between distance and a kill score. Each enemy and boss has a different amount of points, which when defeated, are added to your kill score, in the top right corner, under your health, while the distance is shown in meters, and is in the center top part of the screen.
The controls are done very well, as are the physics. You’re given a whip-speed boost button is on the left side, and the jump is on the right. You can use the whip button to whip the horses, also killing any flying enemies that might be above you, and holding it down sends you bursting forward. You can also boost forward while you’re jumping, making jumping over the bigger holes a lot easier. The power-ups in Spooky Hoofs are done very well also. To activate them, you need to collect 3 of the same colored orbs. There’s Blue, Orange and Purple, while Red orbs just need to be collected once, and add to your health. Collecting 3 blue orbs turns your horses into flaming blue invincible beings, giving you 3 chances to run into and through enemies, killing them, and adding to your kill score. Orange orbs give you the ability to shoot projectiles at enemies by hitting the dash-whip button, giving you 9 shots for every 3 orbs you collect, and purple orbs, when 3 are collected, give your horses wings and 9 air jumps, which you’re able to use consistently until you run out, meaning you can stay in the air for 10 full jumps before it’s used up and you fall back down to the ground.
There’s 2 leaderboards supported by GameCenter, one for distance, and one for your kill score, and no achievements. Having no achievements kind of takes away from the replay value, but with the leaderboards, it doesn’t take away too much, as you’ll be trying to get further and further, seeing more and more varied enemies, and increasing both your distance and kill scores. For $0.99, Spooky Hoofs is a great endless runner with awesome graphics, and great power-ups, while the gothic vibe of the game makes it even better. This is one game that will be staying on my iPod for quite some time.

Spooky Hoofs is getting a score of 9 out of 10.



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