Preview: Anna Montana – Desperate Housekeeper
So what are the pillars of the Time Management genre at the App Store? A couple of names come to mind, Sally’s Spa and Hospital Havoc. I will admit to being a closet TML (time management lover) who’s secure in his effectuality (yepp) as a productive human being. However, I am not the best housekeeper, something Anna Montana, a new game by CDE and Humble Gaming has taught me.
CDE Humble Gaming have made the following additions to the game which I will be reviewing shortly (follow the gap):
- Online Ranking Board with Facebook integration
- Additional new Houses (Some more larger than others with more rooms)
- Ability to Re-Visit houses
- More Game Awards to be won
- 5 Different Alternative endings depending on player ‘decision’ during game play. The player will be forced to make a decision as to which final house they want to clean. That house will belong to someone important and they will not allow you to clean it unless you have cleaned up a series of the older houses (which House depends on which of the final character out of the 4 is picked by the player). the endings are alternate depending on how the player fares.
Anna Montana is a cleaning game – it isn’t as simple as that, but such an introduction suffices. You move stuff with your finger, brush dirt away with swirls, select items, steal, purchase and walk through a ‘storyline’ with touches. You will manage resources too: time, accuracy, and your ability to follow orders – all of which are important to earn the almighty money. If you don’t, university will be a double challenge as you simply won’t have the dosh to get in!
Eager to start earning an education, my first lesson was a simple teach and hash session via the excellent tutorial. Yessir, you get the chance to play through the first house while being attended to by helpful hints. For starters, the tutorial mode (which can be accessed at any time) doesn’t lay out gameplay in a non-pragmatic series of text screens. Yes, there are text-based explanations, but most of the introduction is hands on – in fact, it will have you rushing to finish cleaning your first house as if you were in the middle of the game itself. I had a lot of questions and went back and forth between the game and the tutorial many times.
But, forget that. As good as the tutorial is, the game is better. Besides earning your education, your dollars will be spent to purchase upgraded goods – items such as brushes, cleaning cloths, and hampers which will help you do more work in less time. Its quite laborious; brushing, hoovering, scrubbing, washing and drying – there is more, but basic game elements are similar, yet each important and sometimes contingent on a series of other events. To complete a house, you must successfully tidy up in a limited amount of time – say 4-5 minutes. Anything goes really, from rubbishing wads of paper to laundering clothes, cleaning stains to stealing valuables (which will earn you a nice award)!
Where Anna Montana gets tough – and ultimately damn fun – is in house layout. Some houses are large, with many rooms, while others are smaller. To travel from room to room, just swipe with two fingers to the left or right. You will find each in varying orders of disarray and as you progress through the game, you will have to spot patterns because rooms become increasingly chaotic. For instance, completely cleaning one room at a time may be fine in the beginning or in smaller houses, but when you reach houses with up to four dirty abodes, look for a tasks which can be done in one large sweep of the same tool. For instance, pick up the dirty clothes which may be strewn about, dump then in the clothes bin and then make your way to the washer/dryer. In the meantime, do what else can be clumped together - a good idea is to bin garbage or blanket stains with chemical so you can come by with the scrubbers later.
While typical time management games focus on one locale, Anna Montana will drill you with many. You will build up relationships with clients, make moral choices (one really), and struggle with your tasks. Finish it all? Then head on over to challenge mode and have at it against your former clients. Warning: this mode is extremely dirty. So much nasty debris! How did I do you ask? Well, I played through the entire Ad Hoc version!
Anna Montana is part time management, part RPG, and part spot the difference. You will have to develop a good eye to do well in Anna Montana, but it is a small price to pay since the package is fun. On last item I am happy to point out is that iTunes library support works flawlessly. Tired of the one-song game music? Load up Daft Punk and have at one more time. There are some problems which need ironing out – things like story text and misinterpreted touch inputs. You are supposed to read client’s conversations carefully to suss out specific directions, but after one or two which are laden with punny, but not funny conversation, skipping to the end and hoping for the best may be a best bet. As for touch input – any item near the static corner-icons will sometimes not register touch input. At other times, it will bring up the icon’s menu and frustrate you to no end as the clock runs swiftly down.
Anna Montana is scheduled to debut near the end of the month at the App Store. I think it is a fun title which has just a few rough edges, but certainly fun. As always, I look forward to reader responses to the debut version and hope that my observations are helpful.