Hot Mess Review

By , on November 14, 2013
Last modified 10 years, 8 months ago

Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Chaining together boosts is a blast.
  • Concept is bonkers, but marries with the gameplay surprisingly well.
  • Smashing through walls to create pathways never gets old.



  • Awkward two-button controls make steering and firing the hose tricky.
  • Music starts to grate.


Despite its awkward controls and derivative visuals, Hot Mess's barmy representation of lust will probably trigger a palpatation or two.

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Hot Mess caused a bit of controversy when it was banned from the App Store not once but twice. You see, Hot Mess is a game about burning passion. More specifically, it's a game about locating burning passion, and then dousing those white hot with flames with a jet of cold water.

You take control of a fire-fighting robot, who has been sent into a hotel to save the residents from a series of blazes. After an unexpected electric shock, the robot's targeting systems go haywire, causing him to zero in on the lovers which populate the hotel rather than the fires themselves.

The robot moves forward automatically, leaving it to you to steer him left and right using buttons at the bottom of the screen. Holding both buttons will unleash the firehose. The little guy slows to a crawl when spraying water, giving you a chance to direct him towards a new target, rolling through a water source if necessary.

The steering takes some getting used to, and you find yourself running into walls and furniture. This is a problem, as collisions drain your health bar, meaning you have to drive as carefully as possible to avoid premature deactivation.

However, extinguishing these flames of passion light a fire within the robot itself, engaging a temporary high-speed boost mode. The levels are designed so that you can effectively speed-run between couples, smashing through walls and soaking every couple in a continuous, frenzied charge.

Activate the boost while facing an exterior wall, however, and your robot will smash straight through and fall to his death. As the hotel floor designs become more elaborate and more chasms start appearing, it becomes incredibly tough to keep the little droid alive. Switching between spraying water and turning is tricky enough when travelling slowly, but when the boost kicks in, steering away from holes in the floor becomes a nightmare.

But, even with the same music track droning on, and the derivative Hotline Miami-esque visuals, Hot Mess's bizarre premise just about manages to hold things together. The control system is awkward, but part of the challenge. Levels are often over in a couple of seconds, which is handy given the number of times you'll have to repeat some of them. Wrestling with the controls can sometimes fall on the wrong side of irritating, but we're sure that some folks will get a kick out of chasing flaming semi-naked couples with a fire extinguisher.


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