Hippo Sports is a relatively new offering in the Windows Store where you help guide a clumsy hippopotamus through a rigorous training program that includes somersaults from a trampoline and hipster moves from a Zumba class. Available for both Windows Phone and PC, Hippo Sports has colorful graphics, lively animations and a set of mini-games that challenge your reflexes and timing.
Hippo Sports is nicely designed for our younger gamers and may even appeal to some of the older faces in the crowd. While an attractive Windows game, there are a few bugs and glitches that hold this title back.
The main menu for Hippos Sports has your hippo snoozing on a locker room bench, eager to start his workout. The menu his packed full of options that include a set of lockers that will hold the hippo's workout clothes, access to the shower, access to the gym and access to the swimming pool.
You will also find a clipboard that reflects the hippo's progress towards workout goals and a cooler that holds fruits for the hippo to snack on. As best as I can tell, the game lacks any settings options. Tapping the screen will wake up the hippo and all you need to do is enter your screen name and decide where to send him first.
When you go to enter your screen name, the first bug comes to light in that Hippo Sports does not recognize your native language. Instead, the text is displayed in German and without any settings menu, there are no means of changing the language manually.
Again, the lockers hold workout clothes and accessories that you can have the hippo wear. Items are progressively unlocked as your hippo gains experience and include shoes, hats, shorts and shirts. Tap on a locker to see its contents and tap/drag an item to the hippo to have him wear them.
Moving the hippo around is done by tapping the area of the screen you want the hippo to move to, such as tapping on the gym door to have him go to the gym. Activities when you first start gameplay are limited to the shower room and gym. It appears as if the swimming pool is still under construction and not accessible just yet.
The shower room is where, as you might guess, the hippo gets cleaned up after a workout. You control the hot and cold water, scrub him from head to toe and dry him off. Just be careful not to get the water too hot or too cold.
The gym has four activities that include a trampoline, a karate exercise, a jump rope and a Zumba exercise machine. Each exercise has a tutorial screen that is displayed before performing the exercise. If you need to re-visit the tutorial, a question mark is located in the upper right corner of the screen to pull it back up.
The exercises breaks down as follows:
- Trampoline: A meter is displayed at the bottom of the screen as the hippo bounces on the trampoline. An arrow moves back and forth across this meter and you need to tap the screen as the arrow crosses the highlighted section. This causes the hippo to perform a stunt on the trampoline. The longer you survive this exercise, the faster the arrow moves and the smaller the highlighted section becomes.
- Jump Rope: Here you need to tap the screen to make the hippo jump and miss the rope as it spins around him. Tap too soon or late and it trips him up.
- Karate Exercise: The hippo is center screen and from the left or right sides of the screen, bouncy balls are thrown at the hippo. Tap on the ball as it comes within arms reach of the hippo to strike it. The Hippo's reach is defined by the blue circle surrounding the hippo and if you miss a ball and the hippo gets knocked to the ground.
- Zumba: Tap the stereo that is on the gym floor to begin this exercise where you have to tap musical notes as they are highlighted to keep your hippo dancing. The longer you survive, the faster the pace of the music becomes. Miss a note and the hippo trips over his feet.
As you complete these exercises, you earn stars that increase your hippo's gaming experience and unlocks clothing and accessories. Stars are even available for taking a shower or letting your hippo take a nap (tap the Zzzz button on the main menu). Each of these exercises allows you three miss-steps before the hippo is sent packing.
While I can see the appeal to Hippo Sports with our younger gamers, the title needs a little fine-tuning. For starters, the language support needs to be ironed out to allow the text to be displayed in your language.
The mini-games present a decent level of challenges to test your skills at timing and reflexes. The only glitch with regards to gameplay that I noticed was that on occasion the karate exercise would not register a tap, allowing a ball to flatten your hippo. Lastly, while the clipboard reflects your gaming performance, not all of the activities registered.
Hippo Sports is an entertaining Windows game that has potential. Polish it up a little and maybe add a help section to explain everything, and it should be a solid game. As is, you need a little patience and may need to walk your kids through gameplay (or have them walk you through gameplay).
Hippo Sports is a free, ad-supported gaming title that is available for both Windows Phone and PC. The Windows PC version does have keyboard control support, which is a little cumbersome. For the best enjoyment, play Hippo Sports from a touchscreen device.
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