What if I told you there was a game on the AppStore where you controlled a hippo, which happens to have a jet pack, whose primary goal in life is to collect socks out in the middle of a desert environment so colorful and cartoony it would make Wile E. Coyote jealous so it can get its groove on to disco music? You’d probably ask where this incredibly specific question came from, but I’d be telling you about Disco Hippo from Likemind GmbH.
The premise of the game may be a little ludicrous, but that’s a plus in my book. You’re a hippo, and you want to collect socks. Unfortunately, I feel like once you’re done soaking up the lovably insane background of the game and start playing it, the charm starts to wear off pretty quickly.
The game is controlled by tapping either the left or right side of the device repeatedly to launch the hippo into the air via jetpack. Knowing when exactly to tap and get that burst up is what’s important to get maximum mobility. There is always one sock floating around the level for you to pick up. I will say that the developers did a good job of programming where the socks will spawn, and it can be incredibly satisfying to get into a back and forth groove and precise taps to collect several socks in rapid succession.
As you collect the socks, you’ll earn more time to try and earn a higher score, as well as fill up your discometer, and when it’s full you go into disco mode. I imagine this is supposed to be a reward, but I honestly found it to be the biggest hindrance in the game. Disco mode completely changes the speed and arc that your hippo flies in, essentially forcing players to adapt to a whole new control scheme.
The more socks you collect, the harder Disco Hippo will try to become, with big rocks popping up to create obstacles you have to fly around. This is perfectly fine as a mechanic, but I’ve had a few runs come to an abrupt halt because the rock rose up and blocked the sock I was going for, making it impossible for me to get any farther in my current run.
And that’s really about it. There aren’t extra modes, no unlockables, and only a handful of gamecenter achievements. One of the achievements lead me to believe there were other levels, but I couldn’t figure out how to get to them, and the menu is incredibly bare bones. It’s hard for me to recommend Disco Hippo even as a passing novelty. I think with more to do it could be more fun, but right now it feels incredibly barren as game. It feels more like a tech demo for something hopefully better to come.
One final nitpick, the music that plays in disco mode sounds more like mariachi music than disco music.