Up, down and all around: Elevator Mania Review
I don't play many mobile games. I only ever play them when I'm bored in public -- which isn't often -- or when I'm bored at home, at which point I remind myself I could be playing my 3DS instead. For me, mobile games are time sinks --easy to pick up, hard to put down, but ultimately not worth it.
But Elevator Mania is a little different for me.
In the game you control three elevators with the goal being to get patrons of the building into one of the elevators and down to the ground floor before they reach the end of their hall. It's not too difficult, but it makes for extremely fast gameplay that's surprisingly satisfying.
Like most mobile games, Elevator Mania is about keeping up a streak which, when game events come in, can be surprisingly hard to do. Game events are waves that come in the form of "Elevator Rush Hours," which speed up the game for a while, "Alien Invasions," where if you don't kill the aliens, they'll kill your patrons, and "Void Deck BBQs," which obscure a column of elevators with smoke. Not only that, but there are also "rush" patrons, who're faster than normal elevator riders.
These events bring the game up to a frantic pace, and I was surprised at how much strategy was involved in making sure no one reached the end of the hall. It actually took a little bit before I was thinking at the speed needed to get a half-decent score.
Clearing these events and unloading full elevators nets you little smiley face tokens, which you can cash in for one of seven different elevator designs. In the time I spent playing, I could only afford the Smart Phone elevator (the cheapest one).
You can also pay real money to unlock the rest of the elevator designs, but the game is really good about the amount of tokens it gives you. If I had played just a bit longer and watched a few more ads, I could've gotten the Rocket elevator (the most expensive one) no problem, although the elevators don't actually affect gameplay.
I really appreciate that the game doesn't impose wait times and paywalls on the player. Mobile games tend to give you limited plays and lengthy wait times as a way to pressure you into paying for content, but that's almost completely absent from Elevator Mania. You can play through the game and get all the little extras basically unhindered.
Elevator Mania as a whole is a game that's easy to get into and easy to put down -- which is a good thing. The frantic gameplay means that you'll only ever be playing in short bursts, but it's short bursts of a simple, well-constructed game. It doesn't feel the need to drag the experience out by forcing you to grind or wait. It's just quick, arcade-style fun that's a good boredom buster.
It might be an odd sentiment, but I really enjoy the fact that Elevator Mania isn't trying to enslave you -- there are no frills, there's no excess and developer Pixelon Games isn't trying to tie you down and snatch your cash. So, for a clean, simple mobile game, it pretty much hits the sweet spot.