Mango Cats is a game for Palm Computing devices
Download it here and play today!
MangoCats.prc (14K) or
(OS 3.0 and higher)
© 1999-2000 by Mike Inman.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My highest score so far is 4620 points.
- 0 - 1000 Beginner
- 1000-2000 Intermediate
- 2000-3000 Skilled
- 3000-4000 Advanced
- 4000-5000 Expert
- 5000+ Genius!
Please send your questions, comments and suggestions to: author (at) mangocats.com
Mango Cats is donationware - if you, or your children, enjoy playing, I would appreciate it if you would send
me a $9 donation at:
Click on graphic to go to the "online store."
Also available from MangoCats software:
- AnaLink - data recording, review and analysis
software for MiataLink ECUs and the Palm Pilot.