This week’s new Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone game is called “Hasta La Muerte”. The graphics appear hand drawn and very two dimensional. The first thing that’s kind of strange and a bit difficult about this game is the first menu. You have to tilt the phone in order to make the little character walk into the different areas. Once he’s there, you can press the button to activate it. You can’t just press the buttons even though they look like buttons that you can press.
The object of the game is to free souls of the dead. You walk around different areas and jump on these white colored souls to free them. You’ll want to avoid the black stick figures which are living souls as well as the extra thick black stick figures which are lost souls that will kill you. Again you have to navigation through different maps by tilting the screen to make your character walk in a specific direction. He doesn’t walk faster if you tilt the screen more, so this accelerometer interaction method doesn’t really make much sense. I’d rather just have a directional pad to control the movement. Now if you find a soulpet to follow you around, that will give you extra powers. An “A” button will appear on the very bottom right corner. It’s a pretty small button, and if you have a Windows Phone with capacitive buttons, this will be right next to the back button. Plan on hitting the back button accidentally many times when intending to press the “A” button.
Lastly, at least in the pre-release version that we’ve got, there’s one major bug in the game. In the Options > Parameters screen you can recalibrate the tilt so that you don’t always have to play the game while hunched over your phone sitting up. I thought this would allow me to set a “normal” level that is about perpendicular to the floor which would be a good position for playing the game while laying down. It turns out the game does not register any tilt that’s more than 90 degrees from level on my HTC Radar 4G. So after I did that calibration, the game’s character would only move up no matter which way I tilted the phone. If you remember from the beginning, the options are only accessible by tilting the phone to navigate the menu. So that means it’s impossible to reset the calibration if you set it while the phone was perpendicular to the ground. The only way to make the game usable again is to uninstall it, lose all of your saved game progress, and then reinstall a fresh copy from the Marketplace.
This game was announced many months ago and a lot of people have been looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I am not impressed considering the usability issues with the menu navigation and controls.
Hasta La Muerte will be available in the Windows Phone Marketplace tomorrow for $2.99, so keep an eye out for it. (Unless it gets delayed in order to fix the bugs I mentioned above.)