Subrats in review – Who Rules The Subway?

Line drawing games have touched on a variety of topics, including bathroom duty, but the majority of them seem to focus on some sort of vehicle.  Subrats takes a different approach, focusing on what is perceived as one of the lowest forms of life to skitter about on four legs: vermin.  The game has a great sense of humor, it looks sharp, and best of all it is actually quite fun.  Even if things that go bump in the night make you squeamish, Subrats is certainly worth a look if you enjoy a challenging line drawing game.

The subway can be a dangerous place, especially if you’re but a simple rat trying to get to the garbage can for your next buffet.  Thankfully the rats have a friend, and that friend is you, the player.  It’s your job to guide each rat safely to its corresponding garbage can.  You do this simply by drawing a line between the rat and the garbage can.  Sounds easy enough, except for the fact that the subway is currently in use, which means the poor rats will have to dodge careless, unforgiving trains.  They start out slow enough, and if you’re careful you can run around them or even under them when they are stopped.

Pretty soon they speed up, however, and they also begin to show up more frequently.  Then the sweepers come, which move a bit slower, but do a good job of sucking the rats up into their brushes.  You’ll also get puddles of electrified water, lights that flicker out so you can’t see the rats or trains, and various other traps to trip up the poor mice.  In your defense, certain trains will start leaving power ups that do things like make the rats indestructible or speed them towards their destination.  You even get three chances to stop all the trains either by double tapping the screen or shaking the device.  You’ll need all the help you can muster, especially when rats start coming from both the top and bottom of the screen.

The game has two modes.  Classic has you slowly build towards having the various traps and goodies show up, while in Crazy mode you get everything right from the beginning.  Crazy mode is a good way to see how insane the game can be early on.  The game is OpenFeint enabled, and there are 29 achievements to try and earn.  You can also rank your rat saving skills against other players.  So far mine aren’t so hot.  Despite having no real skills at the game I actually prefer Crazy mode, as I like having access to everything right away.

The graphics are really well done.  The top down perspective suits the game nicely, and everything is quite detailed.  Special effects like the crackling pools and flickering lights are very slick, and things like graffiti on top of the trains is a great touch.  It’s also kind of amusing when the rats go “splat” – but just for a second.

The sound effects are also well done.  Where this is most evident is in all the wisecracks coming from the passengers of the trains.  Besides being funny, they actually have some good voice talent there.  The game comes with 4 soundtracks, and as part of the “gold track” IAP you can get 3 more.  There’s something for most tastes in the collection, and so far they’ve all sounded pretty good to me.

One thing that hasn’t changed much over time is mechanics: most line drawing games provide little more functionality than simply drawing lines between two objects.  That being the case, what separates one game from another is the atmosphere and this game has plenty of atmosphere to spare.  The fact that the game gets insane rather quickly on the Crazy level certainly doesn’t hurt either.  If you’re relatively new to the genre or you think you’ve extinguished all the possibilities, I highly encourage you to give Subrats a look – I think you’ll enjoy what you see.

App Summary
Title: Subrats Developer: White Shoe Media, Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.4 Min OS Req: 3.1
Price: $0.99 App Size: 18.2 MB
  • Rats are cool
  • Frantic game play
  • Good graphics
  • Nice tunes
  • Only one map
  • No real innovation


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