EVAC– Pacman for the iGeneration?

EVAC HD is the newest game by Hexage, a small studio that is “dedicated to make mobile games that are beautiful to look at and comfortable to play.” And their website mission statement is no lie—EVAC HD is both beautiful in its design and impressive in the ease of its design and controls. Designed for Mac, iPad, iPhone/iTouch, and Android, EVAC HD is a multi-platform fusion of strategy and old school arcade fun. I tested it out on Mac and procrastinated most of the weekend due its entrancing and addicting nature.

EVAC HD has a unique plot: you play as an anthropomorphized pink square who must make his way through complex mazes while being chased by villainous red squares who wish nothing more than your timely demise and who are led by their even more loathsome leader, Shadowbox. Shadowbox chimes in through dialogue boxes to alert you of your imminent doom. On your side is Cratos, a yellow box, who provides encouraging words of wisdom. Cratos cannot move but can be moved by you in order to block Shadowbox’s minions and unlock mazes.

Employing a four-arrow control, you steer your protagonist through a variety of maps. Some of the levels require you to employ stealthiness by sneaking around your enemies, while others force you to use power-ups to attack them. Highly simple and requiring only linear movement, the levels are designed impressively.

However, they each have twists that require not only dexterity but also quick problem solving. Vacillation will mean imminent doom; with only three lives, you must think and act quickly to avoid evil red boxes. EVAC HD boasts a design that would not be out of place in an arcade but truly comes to life on your computer.

EVAC HD has 24 levels. After unlocking one, you are allowed to move on to the next. In each level, you must steal Shadowbox’s jewels that have been littered throughout. Only when you have obtained all of them can you advance.EVAC HD’s fast-paced gameplay makes for an engrossing experience with plenty of close escapes and near defeats.

One of the few frustrating parts of EVAC HD however, is its lack of checkpoints. Every level is win it all and advance and or hang your head in shame and give it another shot. With such intricate levels, it can be aggravating to repeat the same parts over and over again, only to arrive at the same that’s been troubling you and then having to start over.  Yet, such a life or death set-up does endow the game with immense urgency that makes it even more thrilling.

Not only does EVAC HD boast addicting gameplay, but also the color and sound design adds to the experience. Each level has a varied array of soft neon colors that produce a strangely calming effect in occasionally stressful circumstances. The soundtrack, composed by Czech musician kubatko, is a pleasant electro-pop background that provides comfort in its repetition.

EVAC HD heightens competition by incorporating an online element where you can submit your score to online leaderboards. Also, it allows you to sign in via Facebook and compete with your friends in this enjoyable strategy/arcade game.  EVAC HD demonstrates Hexage’s potential to design simple but riveting games to enjoyed by all.

EVAC HD is available for $0.99 at the App store.