X-Men: The Last Stand – Mind Maze

Hurrah for common sense! Hands On Mobile has realised that just because you have the rights to release mobile games based on a famous stable of comic superheroes, that doesn't mean you have to churn out an endless stream of platform games.

Last month's Spider-man: Webslinger, for example, put Spidey in a one-thumb arcade game swinging from building to building. It was a cool idea, even if it was hampered by an unforgiving difficulty level. And crucially, it wasn't another platform game.

Now it's the turn of the X-Men, who've been slapped on top of a rather famous retro game. If you've played a lot of mobile games, you might want to see if you can spot which one from this description:

The action all takes place on a single screen, with you controlling something called an X-Cursor, within cybernetic mutant Cerebro. Your task is to "reveal the hidden mutants whilst avoiding or neutralising psionic defences as they attempt to intersect and destroy your telepathic efforts".

Okay, try this: you control a blinking cursor moving round the outside of the rectangular playing area. When you move inside the rectangle, the cursor draws a line, which you can use to hive off sections of the screen, which disappear to reveal part of a photo of an X-Men character.

To complete a level, you have to reveal 75 per cent or more of the photo, but if one of the baddie cursors hits you or your line while you're within the rectangle, you lose a life.

Recognise it now?

Yep, Mind Maze is a reskinned version of a game called Qix, which came out in 1981, and has since been adapted for a number of classy photo-revealing games on mobile, including, ahem, Jordan Uncovered. Thankfully, the only over-inflated boob on show in this new version is Vinnie Jones (in the role of X-man Juggernaut).

It's hardly original, then, but Hands On has done a good job with the game. It runs smoothly, and there are some extra features making it more than just another Qix clone.

Each level – there are ten in all – has at least a Boss, which is basically a diamond-shaped object that moves slowly around the screen. But as you advance, other 'psionic defences' are thrown in too, which are different-coloured blobs that move faster. By level eight, for instance, you have two of those, plus a Boss to avoid while you divide up the screen, providing a stiff challenge.

There is a scoring system too, based on how much of the screen you manage to fence off, and whether you can enclose any of the psionics while doing it, which gives you bonus points. There's also a time limit to play against on every level, so you can't just hug the sides shaving off cautious slivers of screen to get through.

Mind Maze is good fun while it lasts, the addition of psionics makes it more challenging than simple Qix, and the photos are pretty good. But while it shows more originality than pumping out another so-so platform game, the novelty wears off fairly quickly.

X-Men: The Last Stand – Mind Maze

A neat spin on the superhero movie game, but these mutants are only mortal in the end
Stuart Dredge
Stuart Dredge
Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)