Do you know anything about weebls-stuff.com? Think before you automatically answer with a “no.” Weebls-stuff.com has been the birthing grounds for some of the most devious ear worms in the Internet’s existence. You might be familiar with a flash video about badgers (badgers badgers). Or a little song touting the awesomeness of narwhals. Or the story of a bloke named Magical Trevor.
Russian Dancing Men for the iOS is a rhythm game based around Weebls’ stable of cute and terrifically addictive flash cartoons. If you indulge, prepare yourself for two things. First, you’ll be singing the likes of “Amazing Horse” for days to come. Second, gather up every crumb of patience you have, because this is a difficult game, even on the easiest setting.
The story for Russian Dancing Men–yes, there’s a story–involves a passel of Russian men dancing through 10 stages to defend Russia against the threats contained within. Each level’s graphical theme and song is based on one of Weebls’ cartoons. You must help your little Russian guy get through the stage by pressing certain buttons that will vault him over hazards in time to the music. For instance, press the “Stump” button to get him over stumps, the “Spike” button to send him spinning over spikes, or the “Pit” button to make him take a long step over a pit. Later stages in the game require you to hit two buttons at once to avoid a whole new whack of hazards, including hoops and spike-lined pits.
Loop the loop.
If all this sounds a bit difficult, that’s because Russian Dancing Men is admittedly a difficult game, certainly one of the more difficult rhythm offerings on the App Store. Hazards fly at you without a pause, even on the game’s easiest setting. The response time is good, though there are instances wherein you’ll swear you pushed that damn loop-de-loop button with perfect timing, only to watch it all unravel behind you.
But Russian Dancing Men isn’t necessarily unfair; it’s just extremely tough. You’re not completely helpless, either. The longer you keep up your streak of success (provided you can get one going), the more additional Russian dancers line up behind you in all their low-kicking glory. When you screw up, the next dancer in line replaces the lost soldier, and on and on. Unfortunately, there’s no recovery time, so if you don’t get back into the rhythm immediately after making a mistake, you can lose your entire line of dancers in the space of a few seconds.
Despite its maddening difficulty, Russian Dancing Men is full of personality and humor. Even if you die over and over again, you’ll keep on playing because, let’s face it, Weebls’ songs have that kind of effect on a comrade.