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Mini Army Android game reinvents a cell phone original

by Ian Black

Snake was the first game ever made for cell phones. It was simple to play, short on graphics, and incredibly addicting. OrangePixel delivers a clever twist on this old game and brings it to life for modern phones with Mini Army ($1.39).

Instead of a snake, you’re building an army, one soldier at a time. Like the original, you can’t march beyond the rectangle made up by the edges of your phone’s screen; and if you run into anything, the game ends. The way you add soldiers to your line is to run over enemy soldiers. Obstacles that you’ll face include rocks, bombs, trees and other objects. Solid objects kill your army, but things like bombs just take out individual soldiers and allow you to keep going.

The game is fun, and as challenging as Snake, when your army gets to be a long line. Helpfully, if you find and run over a Medibag, your soldiers march at a slow pace, making it easier to navigate around the battlefield.

The graphics in Mini Army are much improved over the old game. Armies fire at one another, planes fly overhead, shadows cross the field, bombs explode, and much more. You can adjust the controls, from trackpad to on-screen buttons, via the settings panel.

While the game plays beautifully in single-player mode, you can sign up for the Feint service, post your high scores, and compare yourself to others. Perhaps I was just charmed by how well OrangePixel has reinvented Snake, but I think it’s well worth the price.