Review by KeeperBvK

"Always up for the newest in video games? No? Then read on."

Manhole-e was intended to be a mere preview of a Game & Watch-Collection when it was first released on the day the E-Reader hit the shelves but by now it should be clear that Nintendo stopped developing the collection and that Manhole-e is going to remain the only G&W-game for the doomed GBA-peripheral.

You don't really expect one to be found in here, do you? Maybe it is somewhere hidden really well, just waiting for me to unveil it, but...nah! This game is solely about achieving high scores and nothing else.

If you don't like bashing games, let's simply call the graphics classic or nostalgic or anything similar, but if you feel like being straight about it the only word that comes to mind is “crappy”. Of course nobody expected any Anti-Aliasing, Parallax-Scrolling or at least any colours but still it is needless to say, the visuals suck in all their black and white “glory” and their complete lack of animations even by the E-Reader's standards.

This is definitely the next aspect that should make you refrain from asking yourself „Whoa, why didn't the E-Reader sell well? I mean, come on, it's got Manhole-e” without bursting into laughter. You won't get to hear anything besides some beeping here and there so calling the sound unspectacular would mean quite an understatement. After a while of playing you might want to consider turning off the sound but at least it takes some time before really getting on your nerves.

In „A Game“ you control a little man whose only task is to help pedestrians on two different bridges help to cross a river. Both bridges each have two manholes that need to be filled with a small platform held in the protagonist's hands. The player alternates the main character and hence the platform between the four gaps so none of the digitally moving (as opposed to analog moving) pedestrian falls down counting as a miss. The longer a game takes the more people appear and the game ends after the third miss... This is all there is to say about the gameplay which may seem pretty tedious and so it is after a while but more of that later on in the review. If you expect any great differences in “B Game” you better stop doing so rather quickly: This game mode plays exactly the same as the other one but offering slightly more of a challenge.

All there is to the controls is moving the platform to the left or the right and up or down and the nice option to move diagonally by pressing the A button. The controls are extremely simple but so is the game and therefore you can't complain on them.

It starts off pretty easy (in both modes) and depending on which mode your playing it either stays like that for quite some time or you'll be in for a challenge after a few minutes without ever getting unfair but just really, really hard. So both casual gamers or novices and really good gamers can equally enjoy Manhole-e.

Replay value
Manhole-e certainly doesn't last too long. You've seen everything in the game after a single second and aiming for new high scores also doesn't make you stay up all night especially since losing always means to start again from the beginning which can get really annoying. You can't play this game straight for hours but every once in a while swiping this card and playing Manhole-e while watching TV or listening to some music is fun to do for half an hour or so.

Definitely not worth spending more than a buck on it but considering it came packaged with the E-Reader-device it is a neat game to have and it can provide you with some easily graspable fun.


Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 09/13/05, Updated 04/04/12

Game Release: Game & Watch Collection: Manhole (US, 09/30/02)

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