Turn off the lights, Mr. Director
One of the biggest criticisms I can lay against mobile games is plain to see when you play The Show Must Go On: shallow gameplay trying to be supported by repetition. Like many other of your run-of-the-mill mobile games, what you’ll be getting is a technically competent game backed by absolutely nothing redeeming, rewarding or worthwhile.
The premise of The Show Must Go On is that you are a stage hand helping put together the production of various plays. Of course, everyone from the costume to the set designers are having some major issues, so it is up to you to play five different mini-games to make sure the actors get in the right costumes, the lighting is just right, and all the right set pieces go to the correct location. The five mini-games are fairly straight-forward. One tests your quickness and memory on getting actors dressed up in the correct costumes, another will test your ability to multi-task by lighting the path of actors, and one more will place you on a side-scrolling platform jumping to get sheet music.
What each of the five mini-games has In common is that they’re not very fun to play, especially when you have to play them over and over for each new play. The only one with any promise is the side-scroller, but it is unfortunately marred by bad randomization design. You lose a number of the pages you collect if you fall into crevasses (instead of dying), but in order to collect all the pages (and get a perfect score) it will frequently have you jumping to get pages that will have you falling into the aforementioned crevasses. It isn’t essential to the game that you get the highest score possible, and as far as I know, you cannot fail in the traditional sense, but it is still infuriating.
At the end of five mini-games your score is added up and you get to see the production of your play. The better you do, the smoother the small play goes. If you have goofed on a number of the mini-games, you’ll see it displayed by actors getting hurt, props being in the wrong place, and so on. You’ll get a final score out of five stars, which you can always go back and try to improve if you’re an achievement hunter. The end play is perhaps the best part of the game (mysteriously, this is the part where you don’t play!) as it can be humorous if you did not do so hot in some of the mini-games (Lighting mini-game, I’m looking at you!). If you like specific mini-games, you can unlock the ability to play them individually as you complete plays.
Why would you want to, though? None of them are compelling enough to be worth wasting your time on. Even after the second play, I was done with what the game had to offer. The third or fourth time through, it was a chore. The Show Must Go On will set you back $1 in the App Store, and there is nothing in the game that justifies the price. Cute art style aside, save your dollar for some pool at the local pub and turn off the lights on this game.
- Cute art style. Plays can be funny if you did poorly.
- Shallow, repetitive gameplay. It's just not fun.