Mango Cats is a game for Palm Computing devices
(OS 3.0 and higher)
© 1999-2000 by Mike Inman.

Download it here and play today! MangoCats.prc (14K) or (8K)

See how they run?

Some people may prefer to figure out how MangoCats works on their own, these hints would be spoilers for you - just go tap away and see how they run. On the other hand, there is a logical explanation for what happens when you tap a Mango or a Cat, and for the players who want to know, here it is:

A Tap is a Tap

First off, there are 25 squares on the screen, and when you tap a square, it does the same thing whether you tap near the top, middle, side, bottom, whatever. Dragging the stylus, holding the Palm Pilot upside down, shaking while tapping, etc. might make you feel better, but it doesn't change how the game reacts ;-).


Screen Shot Mangoes and Cats only move up, down, left or right. During debugging, I did have a few move diagonally, but that shouldn't happen any more ;-). They only move in single steps within the 5 by 5 screen, they cannot go beyond the edge, and they cannot move into a square that is already occupied. If you tap a Mango or Cat that is completely surrounded, it won't go anywhere. If there is only one adjacent space to move into, that is where it will go. Otherwise, the Mango or Cat will go in its "most preferred" direction.

Preferred Directions

The most preferred direction of a Mango or a Cat is the direction it is facing, left or right. If you watch the screen for a few moments, you'll notice that Cats spontaneously change directions at random intervals, Mangoes just sit there. If you force a Mango or a Cat to go in the opposite direction from where it is facing, it will change directions.

After the preferred left or right direction, each Mango and Cat has its own preferred vertical direction, up or down. There is no visual indication of the preferred vertical direction, you just have to tap and find out. Cats stubbornly maintain their preferred vertical direction, while Mangoes will get "on a roll" and continue to prefer the vertical direction that they last rolled in.

The last preferred direction is the other vertical direction, Mangoes and Cats will only "back up" horizontally if there is no other alternative. After you score, the preferred directions will be randomized, and the Mangoes or Cats may actually move in the opposite direction from the one they are facing the first time they are tapped after the score.

Tapping Empty Squares

When you tap an empty square, it affects one token (a token is a Mango or a Cat) in a square adjacent to the square you tapped. If there is more than one adjacent token, one of the adjacent tokens is chosen at random. If the chosen token is a Cat, it will move into the empty square you just tapped.

If the chosen token is a Mango, it will act as though you tapped it, and as though the square you tapped is full. This can be useful to force a Mango to move in a given direction when it is cornered, it only has two choices to begin with, and your tap eliminates the third option, so it must go the other way. Tapping on empty squares still deducts from the taps remaining for whichever type of token was chosen.


Screen Shot One of the easiest places to line up the Mangoes or Cats is on the edge of the screen. Each time you score Mangoes or Cats on the edge of the screen (top, bottom, left or right), they get more edgy. The more edgy they are, the more likely they are to spontaneously jump off the edge into the middle. Every time you score diagonally, or anywhere not on an edge, edginess is improved (reduced).

Also, Mango and Cat edginess is independent. If Mangoes are very edgy, you need to score Mangoes in the middle, scoring Cats in the middle won't help the Mangoes, and vice versa. The only indication of edginess in when you see the tokens spontaneously jumping to the middle.

Scoring Values

The score values are 50, 25, 10, 5, 1. The first time you score with Mangoes or Cats, you get 50. If you score with the same tokens again, you get 25, next time 10, etc. The indicator in the upper right corner of the screen tells which token type scored last, and how many times the token type has been repeated, up to 4, after that it stays at 4.

If you get "MangoCats" (Mangoes and Cats both lined up at the same time), the score for the last row of tokens that are lined up is doubled. Scoring diagonally gets a bonus of 25 points. Deja Mangoes and Deja Cats (lining up the tokens in the same place they were when last scored), has no effect on scoring.

Taps Counters

Screen Shot Early in the game, taps are deducted so slowly, you don't have to worry too much about recharging them. After 1000 points, they are deducted twice as fast, after 2000 points they are deducted three times as fast, etc. To score more than 3000 points requires strategy and some good luck. Taps recharge for the token type that just lined up, in direct proportion to the number of points just scored. A fully recharged tap-o-meter corresponds to just under 150 points.

To recharge taps requires that the direction of the scoring lineup be different than the direction that was just scored. So, if Mangoes last scored horizontally, they must then score either vertically or diagonally to recharge taps. Same for Cats. The graph on the left side of the screen shows Mango taps remaining, the graph on the right shows Cat taps remaining. The hatch pattern of each graph indicates what type of row is required to recharge taps.

One hint is that diagonal rows are quite powerful. After a diagonal score, either horizontal or vertical rows will count for a recharge, and they always carry a 25 point bonus. Another useful strategy if a token type is running very low on taps: line up for MangoCats to get a 100 points and a big tap recharge.

Bonus Points

At the end of the game, bonus points are awarded - usually about 20% of the final score, but can be less, or a little more on occasion. The bonus is computed as a multiple of the average score value, with a deduction for the total number of taps, limited to a percentage of the total score. "Huh?" you say? Well, if you always score 100 point MangoCats lineups, and you do it with a minimal number of taps, you'll get the biggest bonus. If you score lots of Cats Again! for 1 point, and do lots of scoreless tapping, you'll hurt your bonus, and also run out of taps rather quickly. If your bonus points are 20% or more of your final score, you've done well.

Score Ratings

My highest score so far is 4620 points.

Please send your questions, comments and suggestions to: author (at)

Mango Cats is donationware - if you, or your children, enjoy playing, I would appreciate it if you would send me a $9 donation at:

Palm Gear H.Q. Click on graphic to go to the "online store."

Happy Tapping.

Also available from MangoCats software: