People's Choice Hangman
Between any two points in a notebook one should always remember: Here be ligers. And Hangman.
In the dusty streets of a border town, the children and their parents gather with a thunderstorm brewing in the distance. The sheriff stands at the town pulpit, the gleam of crazy in his eyes. He lists the crimes of a single villain. Raping. Pillaging. Fornication with the animal kingdom. "The man is a monster," explodes the sheriff, and the crowd jeers. Rotten vegetables take the place of obscenities, and when there are no more, the obscenities fly once again. The hanging is about to begin. The sheriff, as he always does, picks up a massive pencil, and the pressure knots your stomach. A man's life hangs in the balance, as you muster a weak shout, "... R."
If only Hangman carried with it the tension and historical backdrop of, you know, actual hangings, what a game it could then be! Imagine making desperate attempts to save the life of a character with some actual significance, instead of the ever present nameless stick figure. Stick figures seem to be the currency in which People's Choice Hangman trades, and while the realistic Hangman is quite the leap away, there's more style to the notebook setting within this game than some might expect. Everything appears to be written on a sheet of scribble-laden college rule, and I've even come to expect a liger or gryphmera (half gryphon, half chimera, obviously) to walk along the periphery. Ligers don't appear though, and unfortunately for the most part, the style isn't explored as the visuals remain stationary and bland.
It's hard to suggest the gameplay isn't the same, as most have grown pretty accustomed to Hangman over the years. Hangman doesn't do much to offer excitement or thrilling gameplay, the nature of the source material doesn't exactly allow for it. It's a spelling game, for kids. Obviously there are some trade-offs here, and while People's Choice Hangman might never be thrilling enough to allow for a long play session, the game is excellent in short bursts, making it particularly valid for a mobile release. Mobile is the single platform that consistently caters to the short playtimes needed for quick travel, a coffee break, or the occasional trip to the ... you get where this is headed, right? I'm only suggesting the notion however; we tend to keep review phones away from the porcelain goddess at Modojo, at least after that one incident. The dreaded Patchouli Incident of '73. Two men died that day, God rest their souls.
The game also succeeds brilliantly in providing players with the one thing we've all grown to love: A chance to test our esoteric pop culture knowledge. The content within People's Choice Hangman, the words players are trying to guess towards, isn't driven specifically by the company developing the game, but instead by the players themselves. So, downloadable packs from the developers website, created on the internet, offer players the chance to test their knowledge in the areas they enjoy. Things like famous villains, teen idols, car models, comic book heroes, and video game mascots are all common topics that many players like to explore.
Personally, I prefer my own idea, alliterated sex toy names: Wascally Wabbit, Deep Desire, Joltin' Johnson, and the like. I'll have to get on submitting that pack very, very soon. The ability for pack creators to add a shoutout to their collection of gameplay words, for players to view before opening a pack, adds even more personalization to the affair. Mine would read: "These are not mine, but I see them often. Thanks Jenna, Love Cody."
If nothing else, and all tomfoolery aside, People's Choice Hangman is a mobile game developed almost exclusively without the identity disorder that plagues the platform. The game doesn't strive to be a console or handheld release, and instead works delicately with the platform to make the best of mobile content. The ability for players to consistently update their content, and the inclusion of user submitted content, makes a mountain of the molehill that Hangman otherwise is. Centerscore has taken the regular, even boring, concept of Hangman, and rebranded it for a mobile setting with all the bells and whistles it would need to be worthwhile. I'm impressed; I'll be even more impressed if they can do it again.
What's Hot: Charming visuals; User generated content; Perfectly designed for mobile play
What's Not: Still just Hangman; The visuals never go beyond charming