aYa-Manku is bloody hard. That’s the first thing anyone who has played it will tell you. That’s assuming the topic of conversation is aYa-Manku, obviously. But see we’re talking about aYa-Manku and that’s the first thing I’m telling you. So there you go.
It’s also pretty weird. aYa-Manku is a pachinko-style game, where the aim is to gather “fruit” for these cute little guys called Mankunians (not to be confused with Mancunians). So you’d be forgiven for expecting a vibrant flashy affair in the style of Peggle. Oh, how wrong you’d be.
Visually, aYa-Manku is fairly cold and sterile, almost futuristic in a sense. You work your way up through these dull looking grey mines harvesting “fruit”. Except it’s not really fruit you’re gathering, but coloured circles. “Fruit collecting for little cute guys? Let’s make it depressing as hell.” Oddly enough – against all logic – it seems to work.
You have a cannon on either side of the screen, and the aim is simply to shoot the fruit with little “collectors”. If you’re lucky enough, your collector will ricochet around the screen and pick up lots of fruit in one go. But it probably won’t.
Right from the get-go, aYa-Manku is completely and utterly unforgiving. The game kicks off with a tutorial explaining the basic mechanics of the game, but you still have a limited amount of collectors to fire. As such, it took me a few attempts to get through it. I can easily imagine people less patient than I giving up and walking away before aYa-Manku gets going, but it’s worth persevering with.
To keep things interesting, there are different kinds of fruit. The red circle, for example, explodes and takes out all the surrounding fruit. There are also additional collectors scattered around. You bloody well better pick them up or you’ve got no chance of finishing the level. There’s little room for error.
The controls, too, will try your patience. Within each section of a mine, you can drag the screen up and down to a degree. To shoot, you just tap on the cannon and hold down to charge your collector. There are three different power settings. Sounds ok so far, right?
The most frustrating thing about the controls is the use of the accelerometer. It’s not very sensitive, so you’ll continually find yourself contorting your hands as you attempt to move cannon around its hinge. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely necessary to move them around to finish each level; moving the screen up and down just doesn’t cut it.
If you’re able to forgive the controls and persevere with the difficulty, aYa-Manku is definitely worth checking out. If you’re not entirely convinced, give the free Lite version a go first.
- Atmospheric soundtrack
- Over 70 different areas to complete
- Relentlessly difficult
- Accelerometer sensitivity
- Costs £1.79
Summary: One for hardened gamers. If you’re looking for a spot of light fun to kill a few minutes on the train, this isn’t what you're after.
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: £1.79 @ App Store