Whack A Mole! AR Game Review

Whack A Mole! AR is the third Whac-A-Mole AR game that I’ve played so far. The first one was Whack AR! and the second was 打地鼠AR. I had some problems with Whack AR! both in terms of the game’s initialization process and the gameplay experience which felt boring after a short time (its developer plans to add more features though, just so you know). Whack A Mole! AR has a very similar visual style but turned out to be much more fun to play.

What is Whack A Mole AR?

Whack A Mole AR derives from the original 1975 Arcade machine, where the player needed to use a mallet to knock down moles coming from holes. The physical arcade game is still used today in some arcade places and shopping malls.

A Great Whac-A-Mole AR Arcade Experience

Whack A Mole! AR takes the gameplay to the next level. First of all, the hole’s dirt design where the mole is coming out from looks more detailed and better than Whack AR!. It might look insignificant at first, but it does blend better when you play it in an outdoor area on an asphalt or grass surface. Also, the moles look more detailed. The trees though look like they were taken from the same source.

Whack A Mole AR iOS game screenshot
Those octopus fellows throw ink,  you need to tap on it in order to remove it, else it will hinder your view so you won’t be able to see the area where the moles are coming out from.

Second, while I really liked the funny voices and the hammer animation in Whack AR!, Whack A Mole! AR makes the game much more fun to play by adding power-ups, a unique Octopus character that smears ink on the screen (which you need to tap to remove) and it rewards you for doing combos.  It feels fun looking at what’s going on the screen as play the game, combo numbers are flying out with flashing colors (tap 10 moles straight to max your combo), power-ups keep popping in the gameplay area and it feels much more arcady and exciting to play this way.

Hammer power-up, Whack-A-Mole AR game
The hammer power-up will eliminate all visible moles and octopuses with a single tap.

The gameplay controls are very simple. When you see a mole, quickly tap on it before it goes back into the hole. The goal is to get the highest score possible by hitting moles, doing combos and using power-ups which allow you to maximize your score. You have only 30 seconds to do so.

These are the available items which you can use before the game stars: Defense MISS once, Game Time INCREASE, Start with MAX combos, Start with FEVER mode. All items are automatically applied and can be obtained by viewing ads.

Whack A Mole AR has nice music, vibrant and cute UI and a global leaderboard where you can see how you rank up against other players from all around the world who play this game.

Let’s take a look at some frantic gameplay footage. Don’t laugh at my score, I’ll get better 🙂

I personally would have like to have an endless mode rather than having a time limit. Each round just feels too short. In Whack AR! you have an exploding mole that once you hit it it’s game over. So maybe implementing this idea or forcing the player to hit a certain amount of moles without missing, something like that.

AR Experience

Max combos Whac A Mole AR game screenshot
Maximizing combos looks and feels great!

Unlike Whack AR! where the player needs to draw the gameplay area, here you just need to scan for a surface and tap to deploy it. Drawing an area can fit different type objects better, like when you play it on a wide rectangular table, the game will match the entire surface. That being said, in terms of usability, it is an issue. Not just that it’s already troublesome scanning for a surface, you also ask the player to draw a gameplay area? definitely not a good idea in my opinion. Anyways, Whack AR! nailed it right and I was able to play very quickly without any delays.

The game has really nice on-screen visual effects that blend well with the AR experience.

Conclusion

A really enjoy playing Whack A Mole!AR. It’s a great little casual ARKit game that takes the Whac-A-Mole gameplay and transforms it really well into a fun and addicting AR experience.

I still think that Whack AR! nailed the sound effects and voices better and I miss the hammer animation. I also would have liked to have an option to play this game in landscape orientation well, the UI doesn’t adapt to that.

That said, overall, I think Whack A Mole AR offers a more exciting and addicting Whac-A-Mole gaming experience.  This iOS app is also free-to-play, so if you are looking for a fun casual ARKit game to play this evening, check out this game, I’m sure you’ll love it.

You can download the game from the App Store here.

Whack A Mole! AR
7.6/10

Summary

Whack A Mole! AR is the best Whac-A-Mole AR iOS game I’ve tried to date. The power-ups, the combos, and the octopus ink thing are great ideas. It helps rejuvenate and improve the gameplay over the classic one, making it more addictive and fun to play overall—Recommended!