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Minotaur Rescue

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Steer clear

Product: Minotaur Rescue | Developer: Llamasoft | Publisher: Llamasoft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Multiplayer, Retro, Shooter | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | File size: 7.3MB | Version: Europe
Minotaur Rescue Multiformat, thumbnail 1
Part man and part bull, the mythical minotaur is a beast to be avoided. The slathering creature is dangerous and uncontrollable, much like awkward arcade game Minotaur Rescue.

It too should be avoided due to its hard-to-control nature. Embodying the essence of classic arcade games with its pixel graphics, simple gameplay, and clunky controls, Minotaur Rescue succeeds in manufacturing nostalgia - both good and bad.

Here comes the sun

The game's straightforward setup is among its few good qualities.

In control of a triangular ship, your mission is to destroy rocks before they fall into the sun and create a deadly black hole. Rescuing stray minotaurs nets you bonus points, as well as upgrading your ship's firing power, which makes it easier to break apart rocks and blast spaceships that attack at random.

You control your ship by sliding a finger across the screen. The ship fires automatically, leaving you to worry about movement. Not only do you have to position your ship in order bust up rocks, but also to avoid falling into the sun's gravity well.

Games are short, fast, and tough as nails. It's arcade high score chasing pure and simple with OpenFeint and Game Center leaderboards encouraging replay.

An unfulfilled promise

Yet, constructed as a statement by storied UK developer Jeff Minter affirming the relevance of retro gaming, this self-important title has the unintended consequence of underscoring the progressive nature of modern gaming.

In other words, Minotaur Rescue is crafted for an elite group of gamers who will hail its poor controls and basic gameplay as a triumph of arcade design.

Sliding a finger to move your ship is imprecise and awkward. A twin-stick control scheme would be ideal, but Minotaur Rescue ignores this modern convention in favour of something cumbersome. While you're sure to improve with practise, there's no denying that better controls are possible.

Asserting that awkward controls accurately reflect the game's retro credibility and that any criticism is misguided or uninformed neglects Minter's own goal of modernisation.

There's nothing wrong with liking Minotaur Rescue of course, and it has its strengths - the scoring system is good, the social gaming network support spot-on - but it fails in its lofty goal of infusing retro gameplay with contemporary sensibility.
Minotaur Rescue
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 11 January 2011
An attempt at modernising classic arcade gameplay, Minotaur Rescue fails due to awkward, imprecise controls
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Mar 2011
Post count:
woof321 | 23:49 - 28 March 2011
Controls are great, not awkward at all. iOS already has several geometry wars clones, and geometry wars itself. Wouldn't mind if twin-sticks were offered as an option, but it'd be a completely different game. If something's headed right for you, you need to thrust out of the way, then turn around to shoot it, just like asteroids.

One longer swipe is much better for moving across the screen quickly than several short swipes. Short swipes for turning, long swipes for movement.

Often little need to wrap around screen in the Solar version. Wrapping more useful in Deep Space.

Beginners should place Deep Space first.
Oct 2006
Post count:
splat | 17:33 - 11 January 2011
Just to round out your nostalgia trip, why not play one of the two extra bonus games "TANKS!" and "JETS!".

Anonymous | 16:28 - 11 January 2011
In other words, the controls are not a liability for the simple reason that the game is only demanding so much of the player at any given point - mainly that one suffer the initial powerlessness long enough to collect a handful of minotaurs and build up the particle stream to a point where more freedom becomes possible. Then you have little fear when the saucers appear.