May 12, 2010

Water Hazard

A few weeks ago I picked up an old Mario Bros. Game & Watch from the local Goodwill. I popped two new batteries in and it worked like a charm. The game is very basic, but was fun in that 80's retro way. Water Hazard had a similar look from the screenshots in the Android Market and having no rating I decided to try and see if the game deserves some love.

Water Hazard's description matched that of an Atari 2600 favorite called Kaboom!, but instead of a 'mad bomber' it's a water leak in the ceiling, but we're still catching falling stuff in a bucket. I've yet to see a real good Kaboom! remake so I was hopeful, but feared the worst as the screenshots showed two buttons (most likely for left and right) whereas Kaboom! relied heavily on a paddle (or spin) controller for speed and precision. Indeed this is not Kaboom!

But it is something different as it adds a twist... your bucket can only hold three 'drops' of water before you have to dump it out of the left or right window. In actuality the game is pretty cute albeit basic. The game features two difficulty levels known as 'Game A' and 'Game B'. That made me wonder if this was a remake of a past 80's handheld game, but my research has turned up naught. And if it isn't then calling the difficulty levels A and B just seems odd, whereas if they were replicating someone else's odd decision then it's simply authentic.

It's always bugged me trying to take a game and convert it to a single or even a group of numbers. Each game, in many cases, has its own nuances and charm despite falling short of perfection or even goodness. This particularly bugs me when it comes to retro remakes that are spot on, but only garner a 6/10 or worse rating in a trade magazine. If a game is spot on with its goal met or exceeded and doesn't advertise itself as more than a copy of an old game then is it not perfection? Sure it might pale when contrasted to today's standards, but purists such as myself appreciate spot on accuracy with classic remakes. I don't know if this game falls in the category of a classic remake that is spot on (drop me a line if you know), but it is of that ancient style.

In conclusion, this game will provide a short burst of entertainment and nothing more as you frantically tap to move left and right collecting water and dumping it out of the window. You're not going to play it for weeks. There are no leader boards to compete against. It's also only $.99. This game is going to have limited appeal, and I'm sure the developers knew that with the primitive graphics and sound. Still the game works well for what it is. 3.5/5 stars. And Red Rabbit (the devs) has provided a video of the game below...

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