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Lawn Mower Madness

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Fit for the compost heap

Product: Lawn Mower Madness | Developer: Henrique Vilela | Publisher: Henrique Vilela | Format: iPhone | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1
Lawn Mower Madness iPhone, thumbnail 1
When you think about racing, images of high-performance Formula One cars or super-fast motorbikes speed into your mind.

One piece of machinery that doesn't spring to mind is the humble lawn mower, yet that hasn't prevented Lawn Mower Madness from moving past the concept stage and becoming a fully-fledged racer - for better or worse.

As if you hadn't guessed already, this is a game that doesn't take itself particularly seriously. From the cartoon-like visuals to the jaunty banjo soundtrack, Lawn Mower Madness is geared toward revving up laughs rather than realism.

Your ass is grass

Hopping aboard your trusty motorised grass trimmer, you take to a series of wacky tracks in an attempt to finish first in a field of four participants. During each session you need to avoid obstacles such as discarded carts and stubborn donkeys. Hitting pigs and chickens earns you cash which you can spend on upgrades and new mowers.

To keep your rival racers at bay you can also call upon some supremely daft weaponry. Eggs can be used to create slippery patches on the track, while tomatoes become projectiles that can be hurled at the race leader in an effort to level the playing field.

You use the accelerometer to steer, with braking handled via a virtual button. Your arsenal of wacky weapons is also accessed by tapping the relevant portion of the screen.

Have you seen our latest model?

The process of entering racers and slowly upgrading your mower until you can claim first place is initially appealing. Coming first unlocks the next circuit, and each new race offers faster, more determined opponents. This calls for more upgrades, creating a nice sense of progression.

Unfortunately, Lawn Mower Madness is undone by some absolutely abysmal performance issues. The framerate is unacceptably choppy, especially when you have four racers on screen at the same time.

This makes judging turns more difficult than it should be, and the responsiveness of the controls takes a nosedive as the game struggles to generate anything that even approaches an acceptable technical performance.

Gone to seed

Other elements of the game are equally rough around the edges. The aforementioned weapons - which could have given the game a much-needed Mario Kart feel - are practically useless. Trying to hit a weaving rival with a tomato is near-impossible, and even when you do score a hit the effect is negotiable. It's easier to just focus on your racing line.

Other frustrations are apparent, too. Getting stuck behind an obstacle practically means Game Over, as the only way you can get back into the race is to stick your mower in reverse, costing you valuable seconds in the process.

The physics are also slightly suspect, too. On one level, hitting a bridge straight on causes your mower to inexplicably leap off at an angle, making it hard to control your landing.

There's the grain of a good idea somewhere in Lawn Mower Madness, but the myriad problems serve to bury the positive aspects of the game. There are a dozen better racing games for iPhone and iPod touch, giving you little reason to pick up this lighthearted but ultimately lame attempt.
Lawn Mower Madness
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 22 April 2011
A dumb concept, occasionally irksome physics and a painfully inconsistent frame rate all conspire to make Lawn Mower Madness a mess of a racer
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