Manos: The Hands Of Fate
Who is The Master, and what's up with his caretaker, Torgo? The answers lie within. Maybe.
There are several movies we'd love to see turned into video games, and Manos: The Hands of Fate is not one of them. Hell, we hadn't even thought of Manos: The Hands of Fate since the early nineties, back when the hit TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) poked fun of this train wreck, instantly launching it into cult status. Yet here we are with a 2012 iPhone and iPad game based on this cheaply produced and undoubtedly awful film, and oddly enough, it's fun, a shot of old school retro goodness that'll make NES and Sega Master System fans smile. It's even better than the flick, but to those who suffered through Manos, this shouldn't be a surprise.
What we have is a 2D side-scrolling adventure that appears to have stepped out of the 80s, complete with 8-bit graphics, chiptune music and even performance issues (think slowdown) at random moments in the game; we've yet to determine whether this is intentional. Lovingly crafted? You bet.
On that note, you play as Michael (Mike for short), who grabs his revolver and attempts to save his family from a host of critters (snakes, floating eyeballs, zombies) inside the haunted Valley Lodge. Meanwhile, you'll unravel the mystery behind a strange group of people who worship some mysterious dude only known as The Master. This also involves running into his weird caretaker/satyr named Torgo. What ensues is...
Actually, we need a minute to process what's going on. Are we seriously reviewing a video game based on Manos: The Hands of Fate? Really?
Moving on, what ensues is quality platforming goodness that'll take you back more than 20 years. You'll make crazy jumps, blast strange gray hands to reveal gems, attack baddies with a shotgun and uncover secrets. There's definitely a Super Mario Bros. crossed with Alex Kidd and Mega Man vibe to it; for the Mario influence, look no further than the "lives remaining" screen.
On that note, and as much as this game impresses us, the developers at FreakZone made one crucial mistake, that being the lack of a save option. Shutting off your iOS device means having to restart the entire game from the beginning. That was acceptable decades ago, even with battery backups and bothersome passwords, but in today's mobile market, this simply doesn't fly. As a result, the constant restarts begin to chip away at Manos' appeal.
Other than that, and the slowdown we already mentioned, this is a retro-inspired title that came out of nowhere and definitely warrants a look, especially at $1.99. Manos: The Hands of Fate is a terrible movie, but it wound up being a solid video game. We never saw it coming.
What's Hot: One of the worst movies of all time transformed into a cool video game, sweet 8-bit style graphics and music, old school platform hopping, limited but tight controls, cameo by MST3K's Tom Servo.
What's Not: No save option, slight performance issues.