Posted by Ron DelVillano
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, step right up and see Whack-A-Friend, Agetec’s latest incarnation of the ever popular arcade game Whac-A-Mole! Or don’t. Either way, you won’t be missing out on much.
The game starts with you choosing to either play using the picture provided, or you can use your own pictures of family, friends or pets. Whichever picture you choose is then used in the game as the target that you will be trying to hit. The same picture is also displayed on the top screen, and will progressively be defaced with bandages, wounds, and insects. This feature is supposed to give you the idea that you’re really giving your friend a good whack, but it ends up just looking like a mess.
The top screen could have been used for so many other things, such as recording your score or level number, but this opportunity was clearly missed. Another problem is that you are not able to use photographs that you already have saved on your DSi, and the game does not allow you to save any pictures in its own program. You can only use the default picture, or a picture that you take right at that moment. This is a disappointing oversight, particularly for those who have favourite pictures saved onto the device.
The entirety of the gameplay takes place on the touch screen. On this screen you will see the level number that you are on, your current score, the combo counter, how many times you have missed, and the actual game board. With all of the clutter on the touch screen, the top screen goes almost completely to waste.
The game board is set up as a 3x3 grid of holes from which your targets will pop up, and it's your job to hit the targets simply by tapping them as they appear on the screen. Hitting more targets consecutively will increase your combo and will thus increase the amount of points that you receive for every target that you hit. Missing a target will cost you your combo count, and missing four times means game over.
Beyond this simplistic, basic gameplay, there is literally nothing else to do in this game. There are no high score lists, no alternate game modes, no achievements, no unlockables and no fun. After playing Whack-A-Friend for a very short period of time, you may quickly realise that purchasing it was a mistake.
To be fair, Whack-A-Friend delivers exactly what it promises, but by no means does that make it a valuable addition to your collection of DSiWare games. Even at 200 Points the lack of any variety, innovation or actual gaming fun undermines the title. The only real reason that anyone should get this game is for the novelty factor, but even that wears off after the first few whacks. If you really like Whac-A-Mole that much, you’d be much better off saving up your quarters and going to an actual arcade.