The Show Must Go On in Review – Cute, Entertaining and Tough!

In show business there’s an old saying that goes (if you haven’t guessed already) “The Show Must Go On”.  That’s exactly what this game is all about. You’ll visit several different operas, each of which is having trouble in five different areas.  Through a corresponding number of mini-games you’ll hopefully solve the opera’s problems so they can continue with the show.  Of course how well each performance goes depends entirely upon your skill at each of the mini-games.  Will the crowd give a standing ovation or will the actors fall flat on their faces?

This is a quirky little game.  For each production there are five areas that are messed up, with a mini-game corresponding to each one that will help you fix the problem.  The wardrobe department is in disarray, and you must guide the actors back and forth with your finger as clothing falls from the sky so that you can dress them in the appropriate outfits.  The wardrobe manager will tell you before each person comes on what they must be wearing, and if you accidentally dress them in the wrong clothes or they fall through one of the randomly opening trapdoors at the bottom of the screen, you won’t get any points for them.  The one bad thing about this mini-game is that you only get to see the outfit once, so if you forget a part of it you just have to guess.

In the props department you need to help sort out the props.  The manager will show you a grid of four squares with zero or more objects in each square.  Study it for as long as you want, and when you’re ready you can clear the instructions and start dragging objects to their appropriate squares.  You only get to revisit the instructions if you make a mistake, so study them well.  The music department is a mess as well – it seems they’ve lost all their sheet music.  In ‘infinite running” mode you’ll dash across the rooftops avoiding pigeons and grabbing cups of coffee for a boost of energy as you try and recover all the pages.  Be careful for those gaps between rooftops, though.  You won’t lose a life, but you will lose many of the pages you’ve recovered, and you can’t get them back again.  This is a pretty tough mini-game because of that factor.

Next up you have to help build the stage (didn’t realize you were so talented, did you?). All you have to do is move a set of colored crates from one area to another, making sure they get stacked up in the defined order at their destination.  The caveats are that you can only move one crate at a time, and there’s a barrier between the storage and stage areas that you can cross but the crates can’t, so you have to go up and over.  You slide your finger up and down to raise and lower the lift, and left and right to go back and forth.  The controls on this mini-game seemed pretty sensitive to me, and I found it to be nearly impossible as the amount of boxes to be moved increased.

Finally there’s the lighting mini-game.  This is by far the hardest one in my opinion.  As the actors strut across the stage you must turn five lights off and on to illuminate their paths.  It sounds simple, but if you don’t get the lights at quite the right time the actors (and consequently director) get unhappy, and if you have too many lights on at once you’ll blow the generator and the mini-game will end.  This is consistently my worst mini-game in terms of scoring.

Once you’ve completed the mini-games you’ll be “treated” to a performance of the play you helped fix.  Don’t worry though, as unlike the operas these are based off of, the animations here don’t last very long.  They are also supposed to be reflective of how well you did in each of the mini-games.  Sometimes it’s noticeable, like if you do bad at wardrobe many of the actors will come out in their underwear.  Often it’s hard to tell if you’ve made a difference, however.  Where you will notice is in the “review” at the end of the performance and in the (lack of) applause from the audience.

The aesthetics in this game are cute, though they almost fool you into thinking it’s a kids’ game.  The characters are bright and big-headed, and the backgrounds are detailed but have a cartoon like feel to them.  The props scene kind of reminds me of a Colorforms board.  The sound effects will make you chuckle at times, but fit in real well with the feel of the game.  The one stand out part of the whole atmosphere is the music, which I’m assuming comes directly from the operas represented in the game.  In fact, when you finish watching a show you have the option to go to iTunes and buy the corresponding album.

I love the premise behind The Show Must Go On.  I also found it extremely fun at first.  By the third opera, however, it becomes more frustrating than anything.  Better controls on the Stage segment would help, and maybe having an “easy” option that doesn’t get so chaotic.  The best thing, though, would be to allow you to go back and correct individual mini-games instead of having to redo an entire opera in order to try and better your performance.  Still, it was entertaining enough for me to struggle through to the fourth opera, and anyone with some mini-game skills that’s looking for a challenge should really appreciate it.  Besides, you get to hear all that cool opera music without actually having to sit through an opera.

App Summary
Title: The Show Must Go OnDeveloper: Hide and Seek Productions Ltd
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$1.99App Size:
  • Neat concept
  • Cute atmosphere
  • Great music
  • Some controls are wonky
  • Mini-games are insanely difficult after second opera
  • Can’t replay individual mini-games

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