Review: 1950s Lawn Mower Kids (DSiWare)

Back in the 1950s kids had to earn their fun. They had to think up of a medial task - say, washing cars - and work for suspicious men with nondescript names in order to earn money for picnics and visiting theme parks. Developers Zorbix have taken one of these tedious tasks and attempted to make it accessible and fun, similar to their previous game Valet Parking 1989.

So, in 1950s Lawn Mower kids you take control of three kids working for the self-proclaimed “Mr. Mowman”. Each of the kids have lawnmowers of different sizes. The kid with the smallest lawn mower moves the fastest while the kid with the largest lawn mower...well, it’s pretty obvious. You control each kid by dragging a path using the stylus. The longer along a path a kid moves without stopping or hitting obstacles, the higher the speed boost they get. The overall aim is to mow all the grass in the shortest times possible. You get awarded different medals based on your time. While bronze is easily achievable on most levels, the higher medals are nigh on impossible.

On top of cutting grass, you also have to avoid obstacles. You have to cut around flower beds and avoid people and cats wondering around the garden. There are also many special obstacles that only one of the kids can avoid. For example one early level contains a dog on a lead that will attack all but the largest of the lawn mowers. The problem is, controlling all three kids at once is too much like hard work. Once you’ve started a path for one, they would be finished before you sorted out the other two kids. Throughout the majority of the game one or two of the kids will be sitting around doing nothing.

The game doesn’t try to do itself and favours, either. The lawns are much bigger than the size of the screen, and you scroll by dragging on a part of the screen without one of the kids. So whenever you want to scroll, you can’t be controlling the kids - dragging to the edge of the screen doesn’t scroll. You can swap between each of the kids’ locations with the shoulder buttons, but it isn’t much of a help. Most of the game gives the feeling that the developers wanted to make something simple yet with some depth, but added elements that didn’t jar together.

With the forgettable music and rather bland and the lack of effort in the graphics - there’s nothing that gives it a 1950s style. The locations could easily be modern - this game essentially boils down to being exactly what the title says it is: a chore. It gets tiring very quickly and lacks all the charm and addictiveness that cheap mobile games have.


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