Mad Acorn in Review – Secret Agent Squirrels With Rhythm?

There was a time when I was really into the original Diablo, and like many players I thought I was going to wear out my mouse with all the button mashing.  Mad Acorn is that game for my iPod Touch.  In fact, sometimes I get worried that I’m going to leave a finger indentation on the screen where my thumb is most active.  Then I forget about my concerns as the next wave of bad guys roll by.  I’ve never been a fan of Tap Tap Revenge style games, but when a game in an established genre tightly integrates music into the mechanics, that’s a whole different story. Not to mention that Mad Acorn is the cream of the crop in that regards.

You play a secret agent squirrel trying to thwart some nasty bad guys, and while you don’t have much in the way of fancy gadgets you do have a couple of things going for you: some mad skillz and a keen sense of rhythm.  You might say it’s your job to beat some heads in, but I’d probably get fired for such a bad pun.  All you have to worry about is tapping the screen, but you have to do it at just the right time to perform the necessary actions like hitting, kicking and jumping over things.  What action you perform is simply based on what obstacle is in your way.

The game is proximity based, so the closer the object is when you strike, the better your score.  Too close and you get hit, losing a heart.  If they are too far away nothing happens.  The one exception is if you happen to tap on a beat with no enemy near by this is considered a “hidden” beat, and you’ll actually get points for that.  To rack up your score you’ll want to make sure you are getting “greats” and “yeahs” with your timing, because successive rankings at those two levels build up chains that earn you crazy amounts of points.  Levels are ultimately scored with an A, B or C, which earns you 3, 2 or 1 stars respectively.  Unfortunately there is nothing to indicate what you need to do to move to the next score level.

The game currently has 16 levels spread over 4 cases.  That might not seem like a lot, but it really depends on how obsessive you are about scoring.  There are 30 achievements to earn, so the combination of that and the desire to get A’s on each level could keep you busy for quite a while.  Additionally, though, at the end of each level you’re given a percent complete for finding hidden beats.  If you really want a lofty goal, try getting 100% of the hidden beats on all 16 levels.

I have to admit that when I first started playing the game I didn’t think much of the graphics.  However, after seeing some of these levels many times, I’m really starting to appreciate the hand drawn visuals.  The backgrounds are pretty detailed, everything is well animated, and there are certainly some interesting character designs.  The cut scenes are illustrated with roughly drawn comic book like panels, which are probably the most disappointing part of the visuals.

I love the sound effects, and while normally I’d mention that it seems like the bad guys are awfully quiet, it doesn’t really matter in this case.  The voiceover is great as well.  The music, on the other hand, is not something I’d normally listen to.  That said however, in the context of the game it’s perfect.

It’s not like I didn’t already have an inkling, but I’ve learned without a doubt from Mad Acorn that I have no rhythm.  Still, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this game ranks in the top three rhythm games I have ever played.  I’m won’t say which position it takes or what the other two are, but suffice it to say Mad Acorn is quite awesome.  I just want to know where to send the bill when I need to buy a new screen.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: Mad Acorn Developer: APD Inc.
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req: 4.1
Price: $0.99 App Size:
  • Awesome combination rhythm / running mechanic
  • Addictive game play
  • Slick hand drawn levels
  • Excellent sound effects
  • Might need a new screen
  • Not big on the music


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