Tattoo Mania iPhone App Review
01:45 PM

I'm Marisa Kakoulas, and I'm an iPhone addict.

On my little handheld lies the secrets of the universe: how many calories in that burrito; the fastest subway route from Brooklyn to the West Village; how my boyfriend would look with a fake 'stache and mullet; and how I can best kill time time digitally instead of doing something wacky like reading a book.

But when I'm killing time with an iPhone app, I want it to be pleasant, to make the corners of my mouth turn up rather than freeze into a scowl. I want my eyes to brighten -- not roll around in my head -- as I rack up points and leave other high scorers weeping in their parents' basement.

Unfortch, Tattoo Mania by Handy Games is not that kind of app. You can check the preview vid above and see for yaself. As a public service, however, I'll  save you the $3.99 and break down the suckage:

1. First, the game opens up to what is described as "rock music" that is supposed to provide authentic tattoo studio ambiance behind the buzz of the machines. The soundtrack could've easily been by Nickleback or Creed. [If you're a fan of either, you may just like this app.]

2. The aim of the game is to complete as many tattoos as possible on clients with varying pain thresholds and patience, so you gotta be quick. Thus, inspiring a legion of those Guinness Book tattoo marathon wankers.

-2.jpg3. To complete a tattoo, you have to rub your finger over a stenciled design. Easy for my small nubby digits, but have Brian's calloused guitar fingers try to roam over a tribal and it becomes impossible.

If you tattoo outta the lines, bruise marks appear on the body part. Too many bruises and you lose. Ah, if only fleeting black and blues were the souvenirs of a nasty scratcher.

4. The tattoo designs. This is the downfall of the app for me. If you're going to do a game on an art, at least make some effort on that art part. Ripping off 80s Cherry Creek flash is just lazy. If Handy Games had hired a tattoo artist to provide the designs, they could've salvaged at least a star from me.

Speaking of review stars, I seem to be alone in hatin on this game. Most reviews I've read are just giddy over it, like the Kingston Guardian who called it "ingenious," but the Guardian also had some good practical advice:

" would also really benefit from some sort of design element that allows players to create body art for their customers instead of just tracing lines on the 30 templates provided in the game at present."

The App Struck blog gave Tattoo Mania 4 outta 5 stars, and also offers some decent critique on how to improve it, that is, if you can read through the initial blather like this: 

"I admit I've held a morbid curiosity for the craft, sometimes peeking into the dank and seemingly invite-only domain of tattoo parlors, with their heavily inked and metal-adorned inhabitants..."

Are you scowling too?

Tattoo Mania is the only tattoo game so far for the iPhone and iTouch, so there's nothing really to compare it to.

The photo-fun app Tattoo Shop, which I reviewed in March, is also high on the cheeez factor but lately I've been having way more fun with it "tattooing" my mom and giving myself Mike Tyson facial ink. I'd pick that for tattoo fun over the game, and leave my time killers to Bookworm and Tetris.

Wow. That's all I can think to say. So frustrating.

This is exactly the sort of stuff that makes people long for the "good old days" when you could be burned at the stake for witchcraft if you had a sleeve or whatever....... the screenshot of the tribal and the mention of the nickleback/creed soundtrack was enough to make me hate it. Interestingly enough, I think Total Tattoo said that it's a good app, but they never say anything bad about anything other than home tattooing (sorry, bitchery over).

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Marisa Kakoulas
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
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