Whac-A -Mole AR game

打地鼠AR (Whac-A-Mole AR) Review

Whac-A-Mole AR or in its original Chinese title “打地鼠AR” (also translates to Beat the Hamster AR) is an Augmented Reality Whac-A-Mole arcade AR game for iOS. It follows the same gameplay idea as the original arcade game from 1976.

In this game, Hamsters will pop their head for a short time through holes in the ground. The player needs to hit (or Whack) as many moles as possible within 30 seconds.

This is probably the least interesting version of Whac-A-Mole that I’ve played. You just start the game and get straight to the game’s screen. Once ARKit locates a surface you tap to position the game and click the controller icon to start playing.

The UI design is bad, should I know that that controller icon is, in fact, the button to start the game, and why it’s located at the bottom right corner?

At the top right corner, you have the Help button which gives you some information how to play the game but it’ in Chinese.  There is no option to change the language to English or any other language in that matter. For some reason, the game’s official page on iTunes says “Language: English”. Trust me, I tried to search to see if there is any Language option, but there isn’t.

OK, l wouldn’t mind bad UI design if the game was really good, but unfortunately, it isn’t. Tapping on the moles with the finger is nice and I can’t see any other better mechanics that works better for that. However, there are no great visual effects, the sound effects are quite annoying, and the gameplay is not engaging at all. For example, I would make different types of moles like one moving slowly others are fast. Make a mole with bonus score, one that acts like a power-up and slow-downs the entire moles’ movement for a few seconds, one that if you hit it eliminates all the moles in the garden, etc.  I would create some splashy and vibrant visual effects with popping score numbers to make it feel more engaging and fun to play.

打地鼠AR is nothing like that. You get 10 points for each mole you hit. Furthermore, the progression here is very not clear. Once you finish the 30-second round you have two options: click the middle arrow button to play again or click the top arrow button (both look the same) to reset the game. The middle button actually takes you to the next level, but you have no notification that tells you that you are playing a harder level and you don’t know what’s the top-left arrow does until you press it.

When you press the middle arrow, you move to the next level, where the moles will appear more frequently and you get a chance to achieve a higher score. Speaking of score, there isn’t even a local or global score leaderboard in this game, so why bother even trying to get a better score if it’s not saved anywhere?

I did enjoy tapping the screen and whacking moles at higher levels, but you get to a point that it’s just too intensive and the moles popping all over the place. Then the game turns into a boring screen tapping mayhem that got out of control.

I am disappointed with this AR game. I’ve heard about two other Whac-A-Mole AR games coming to iOS/ARKit, but they are still in development. Hopefully, I can get hands on a beta version and share some footage with you guys.

An unexciting take on the popular arcade game. I like the art-style and the tapping part is fun to a certain extent., Overall, A Skippable game, let’s hope that those other AR Whac-A-Mole iOS games will be better than this one.

打地鼠AR
3/10

Summary

Whac-A-Mole AR or in its original Chinese title “打地鼠AR” is a very barebone and unexciting AR take on the classic arcade game. There is no scoreboard, the sound effects are annoying, there no intro screen and the UI is confusing and not user-friendly. On the bright side the art-style is nice and tapping on moles feels nice in AR but there are just too many faults in this game to make it worth your time—A skippable AR game.