Super Mole Escape review
The auto-runner becomes the auto-tunneller in Adult Swim’s riff on the genre, a typically polished chunk of whimsy that sees the titular talpid stage a daring prison break. As you descend, you tilt your iDevice to claw through the earth in an attempt to escape both your would-be captors and sudden waves of lava. There are obstacles to weave around, power-up crates to smash through and gems that act both as currency and extra propulsion should you collect an entire group. Yet while the perspective may be different, this spends as much time borrowing as burrowing.
Jetpack Joyride is the obvious inspiration: Super Mole Escape uses similar objectives – reach a given distance, unlock a certain upgrade – as extrinsic motivators, and even features a post-game wheel of fortune where you can win a pardon to keep digging, top up your gem tally, or earn a boost start for your next run. The tilt controls and relentless sirens, meanwhile, closely mirror Big Pixel’s Off The Leash. It has enough of its own identity for such comparisons not to matter; more damning is the lack of surreal humour that has come to define the Adult Swim’s iOS wares.
It does, however, maintain an exhilarating pace throughout, and while its power-ups are hardly the most inspired selection, laying a bomb at the feet of your pursuers offers something akin to the satisfaction of a well-placed banana skin in Mario Kart. It’s a fine-looking game, too, smooth and characterful, and an online versus mode is a thoughtful inclusion, though you may face a wait of several minutes to be paired up with an opponent. The thrill of the chase is still present, then, even if we’ve come to expect something a little more subversive from Adult Swim.