Sawbuck Gamer

Like Spinning Plates

Enjoy iPhone games? Mini Mix Mayhem lets you play four at once.

By Matt Gerardi • July 25, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Behind Mini Mix Mayhem’s chunky pixel art and primitive micro-challenges is a devious game of real-world resource management, and the currencies at play are your own fingers and attention. It’s made up of about 20 simple, brief tasks—holding on to a rope as a stick man dangles above a pool of lava, shaking your device to destroy a castle, timing your taps to help some jerk juggle a soccer ball–that are pumped out seemingly at random. The catch is you’ll be asked to play up to four at once.

It’s a high score chase: Keep succeeding and the games start coming out faster, but unlike Nintendo’s WarioWare games, Mayhem’s obvious inspiration, the micro-games are designed to fit together in just the right ways to drive you crazy. Each chips away at the most precious of those resources, your attention, in a different way. Any activities that require timing, like that juggling soccer scumbag, are the greatest threat as they constantly pull your eyes from simpler tasks.

A few minutes into Mini Mix Mayhem’s hard mode—the only alternative, easy mode, is so easy it’s pointless—it becomes a frantic multitasking exercise with your iDevice flailing around as it’s entangled in a web of busy fingers. A typical game doesn’t last more than six or seven minutes, but a “game over” is bittersweet: It means an end to your run, but at least you’ve escaped the game’s maniacal, stress-inducing grasp with your fingers intact.

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1,398 Responses to “Like Spinning Plates”

  1. The trailer’s Party Mode looks my kind of nuts. Since getting my iPad I’ve kind of been in love with single-screen multiplayer things like that, but there aren’t too many good ones. ChicaneryBloopCentrifeud… that’s about it. I may give this a shot tonight.

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      I didn’t get a chance to try it with more than one other person. The 2-player is kind of neat because it’s all cooperative, but you’re sort of fighting each other to succeed. One person might need to hold a finger in one place, while the other needs to tilt the screen. I imagine the party mode is absolutely crazy.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Wasn’t there a free Kongregate game in which you play like four mini-games at the same time? Balancing one, dodging in another, attempting to remain near a circle at the same time, and one other thing. Multitask or something? 

      I think I may be through with all that distracting multi-gaming, though. I’d prefer to just have an experience that I can focus on — there are enough distractions without my distractions needing to distract me, if that makes any sense. 

  2. The_Misanthrope says:

    Last week’s secret theme:  drugs
    This week’s secret theme:  Radiohead

    This will be on the test.

  3. lylebot says:

    I haven’t played this game, but it sounds a lot like “Multitask”, a free Flash game on Kongregate:

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Damn. I just posted the same thing above. There were only five comments in this thread, and that’s what I get for not reading them all first. And for, you know, disappearing for a week from the comment boards.

  4. bunnyvision says:

    This appears to be Arcadia, an online game so old that it was coded in Shockwave.