Hako is a neat tilt-based high score drive, but it severely lacks variety

Whenever a new gaming device get announced, there’s always a cool tech demo that shows off what it’s capable of. For the PlayStation 3, there were rubber ducks that showed off its graphical prowess. For the iPhone 4’s gyroscope feature, there was a Jenga style display that Steve Jobs couldn’t wait to show off. And while Hako may not have started life as a tech demo, that’s exactly what it feels like – a tech demo that exemplifies the tilt-based capabilities of the iPhone.

Created in only 24 hours, Hako is a simple experience that’s alarmingly hard to put down. Players will find themselves cascading through space while attempting to dodge the geometric shapes that get in their way. Hit one of these shapes and the game is over.

We weren’t kidding when we say Hako is a simple experience. With the exception of the occasional power-up that you’ll come across, the paragraph above sums up the entire offering. There are no levels to advance to, no characters to upgrade, no quests to complete – Hako is a simple high score drive about avoiding blocks. Despite how that may sound, Hako is also supremely challenging and downright addictive.

Thanks to a smart integration of the iPhone’s tilt functionality, Hako controls exactly as you’d hope. Players need only tilt the device in the direction they want to go in an effort to avoid the deadly shapes around them. The longer you survive, the faster you go. This ups the challenge immensely, yet the challenge is always well balanced by the abundance of green cubes and blue pyramids that will slow your movement and increase tilt sensitivity respectively.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with Hako – it’s just hard to avoid the fact that what’s on offer here is largely a one trick pony. That one trick is an absolute blast to play, but it’s still one trick just the same. Once you feel you’ve mastered what Hako has to offer, there’s little reason to come back for more.

If you’re looking for a great tilt-based high score drive, Hako is a decent way to spend 99 cents. If you want something with a little more meat on its bones though, Hako will likely leave you wanting.