DS

North America

1950s Lawn Mower Kids

by Zachary Miller - November 21, 2011, 2:24 pm PST
Total comments: 2

4

As opposed to any other decade.

The title of this game amuses me. There’s nothing particularly timely about 1950’s Lawnmower Kids. I think kids still mow lawns today—lord knows I see tykes selling their wares on my own streets every summer—and it’s difficult to get the anachronisms of the era through on a pixilated DSiWare game, especially considering this game takes place on lawns, which, by themselves, aren’t very decade-specific. At any rate, Lawnmower Kids (by the people who brought you Valet Parking 1989—I sense a trend) is an interesting, if fundamentally flawed game where you attempt to control three kids with lawnmowers as they try to maintain neighbors’ lawns within a set time limit. 

You do this by drawing a path for each hard-workin’ pre-teen according to which hazards they can each avoid. The girl drives a riding mower that cuts a wide swath and scares away wandering cats and dogs, but is slow as molasses. The two boys run at about the same speed, but one won’t get in trouble for clipping flower beds (this seems inconsistent), and the other can avoid people tossing the pigskin around. The idea is to draw paths for all three kids so that, theoretically, they all are running around at the same time. The longer they move without stopping, the faster they go until they inevitably stop. Until you get to the big fields, however, it’s virtually impossible to keep all three kids going at the same time—their paths are just too short, and their acceleration too great, to juggle three at once. It doesn’t help that the playfield is larger than the touch screen itself, forcing you to move the camera around constantly to see each kid (although the snap-to icons are a nice touch).



A few power-ups may litter the playfield, too. Tapping on birds drops time from your total, picking up a present has a lawnmower-specific one-time-use advantage, and finding that rare unidentified flying object slows time (but not the action) to a crawl, allowing the kids to complete their chore much faster. You’re going for Bronze, Silver, or Gold medals here, depending on how quickly you mow the lawns. I’m really not sure how you’re supposed to get any Gold medals.

The graphics are pretty generic, and I suppose they don’t need to be all that nice—the identifying markers are there: the three color-coded kids, lots of green grass, random neighborhood pets, and football players. For some reason, the aesthetic reminds me of that classic NES game, Paperboy. Music is present but forgettable, and most of the sounds effects are, shockingly, lawnmower noises.

The game isn’t especially good and I can’t recommend it. The developer successfully made a game about summer chores feel like a chore, but I don’t know if that was the point.

Summary

Pros
  • Simplistic, but clean graphics
  • Some modicum of strategy
Cons
  • Drawing paths for all three kids is impractical
  • Flowerbed clipping is inconsistently punished
  • Gold medal times are unfit for human players
  • Nothing about this game screams “1950’s”

Talkback

UltimatePartyBearNovember 23, 2011

This game's existence amuses me because I used to wonder about the possibilities of turning lawn mowing in to a game while I was mowing the lawn myself.  My ideas tended away from simulation, though.  Covering all of a space without overlapping is a classic puzzle, of course.  Link's Awakening did it, and of course Polarium is similar.  I pondered one idea quite a bit but couldn't really figure out how to make work.  It was basically Q*bert Kart, i.e. you'd drive around leaving a colored trail.

TJ SpykeNovember 23, 2011

UPB, there is at least 1 iOS game about lawnmowing. I have one on my iPod Touch called Sunday Lawn. You try to cut an entire lawn while avoiding stuff like groundhogs, and you get more points the longer you can cut grass continuously without overlapping.

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Genre Puzzle
Developer Zordix
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: 1950s Lawn Mower Kids
Release Nov 03, 2011
PublisherZordix

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