Do you remember playing Snake on your old school idiot phone—with no internet connection, no color display, a no touch controls? I do and may be one of the few who has fond memories of those days. I don't know how rare a Snake fan is, but regardless of rarity, I'm as big a fan as you'll ever meet. Well, Hard Lines is basically Snake with a lot of deviations and the presence of personality. It may be my love of Snake, but Hard Lines is one of the best iPhone games I've played in quite some time.
There are many modes to choose from—Survival, Deadline, Time Attack, Piñata, Gauntlet, and classic Snake—and each mode adds its own flavor. All modes other than 'Snake' feature A.I. lines in need of destroying—comparative to Tron's light cycles—but sometimes their dialogue makes them hard to kill. That's right, the lines talk and I loved every second of it. The dialogue holds the potential to distract, but I found it entertaining and different in a genre that hasn't seen much change in countless decades. Seeing a line say, "I thought you were my friend," makes me cry on the inside because he or she is right; what kind of person would kill their friends without a second thought? Apparently me, I guess.
None of this variety matters if the game has poor controls, but thankfully the controls are fantastic. There are three control schemes—two tap-based control schemes and swipe controls—and I'm personally a fan of the swipe controls. OpenFeint leaderboards are included and chasing after high scores is extremely addictive. It would be nice to see Game Center integration in a future update and some form of multiplayer, but as it stands, there's already plenty of content without those hopeful additions.
My biggest disappointment is the lack of an iPad version. I would love a native app or an update to a universal app, but Hard Lines' art direction allows the game to still look good blown up on the iPad. Hard Lines is a steal at $0.99—which is a launch price—but I would still recommend the game if you happen to miss out on the launch sale. I may be a freak of nature in my adoration of all things Snake, but I haven't had this much fun with an iOS game in ages.
iTunes Link: Hard Lines (iPhone/iPod Touch), $0.99 Launch Price