So this week I ponder some big, philosophical, questions. The first of these big questions I have in my mind is this – if a game is ‘announced’ for mobile as ‘free to play’ how much will it rely on micro-transactions, and secondly, which came first, the ‘why did the chicken cross the road’ joke, or the game ‘Crossy Road’ by Yodo 1 games and hipster whale.
Before I start, can I say that I rarely enter any article with a profound sense of “wow, I got that wrong” humility
Not five weeks back I was still reluctant to acknowledge mobile games as true games, but largely they deserve recognition, when they are good any way.
Which brings me nicely back to Crossy Road, an action/platformer/puzzler/survival game that harps back to Froggers simple formula of having an animal cross the road, the colours are bright, the style (which made me think of minecraft) really works for the game, and the ‘course’ is as bout as much fun as you can have on a phone.
The first thing I noticed about this game is that it is played (by default) in the ‘upright’ position of your phone (it can be played in landscape but honestly looks better upright), this is a game where the path six or seven spaces ahead is more important that what you’ve passed, so therefore features prominently in design choices.
So, tap to start, and, oh wait! This is a sort-of endless runner, but doesn’t auto run, tap to make the chicken move, so kind of like flappy bird, minus the awfulness, swiping left, right, down and up also moves the chicken in those directions, affording the game more than its timing puzzles, there are also some obstacles to go around
The object of the game is to cross as much ground as possible, and ground is split up into (from my experience, there might be more with bigger scores) ‘grass’, ‘roads’, ‘tracks’ and ‘lakes’
‘Grass’ features the fewest tricks and traps, the odd area that you cannot pass, and the odd rock serve to keep you moving around
‘Roads’ feature cars and trucks that move at varying speeds and varying intervals, these will be the most common destroyers of your attempt to beat the almighty high score.
‘Tracks’ feature traffic lights and super fast moving trains that you almost certainly don’t want to play chicken with (see what I did there? Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week).
‘Lakes’ feature logs and lily pads, the logs move from side to side, and at varying rates, jumping from to the other affords you the ability to crossy the lake.
Upon failure you get a bunch of options, from a ‘free gift’ which is in game ‘coins’, to sharing your new top score, you also occasionally get a small snapshot of the moment of impact, complete with exclamation marks.
Back to those coins. They are found in course (usually on a specific, non central path), or ‘earned’ via free prizes, the free prize ‘cool down time’ soon escalates to over 4 hours (I am currently on a six hour wait!)
Coins make prizes (although I’m sure that should be points to be honest) the prizes are vended by one of those machines you see knocking about in the arcade that give out little trinkets, this is effectively the same thing, with 70 characters to unlock there is certainly a lot of doing to be done in this game.
The characters include a penguin, which turns the game world snowy, a kangaroo which makes it more desert like, dogs, cats, frogs! Yes frogger away folks, frog off
There is also a character called ‘Pew Die Pug’… not entirely sure if I can legally make a joke about referencing the current social media driven gaming communities need to make a gamer to a ‘celebrity’, but checking with my complaints department I am assure that vaguely suggesting something funny then claiming Amnesia is a good plan (squeals as if terrified)
To call this game anything short of immense fun would be a travesty, yes it is a mobile game and therefore cannot really be judged in the same way as a console game, but the fact is, this game has managed to hold my attention for the better part of a week, even eating to my writing time, and my editing time for my other projects.
It has held its own against every other phone game I have played thus far (both for review purposes and for personal use) and is one of the few games I genuinely believe will remain on my phone for the foreseeable future.
Yes it is simple, yes it is silly, but it is also endearing, fun, mad, and a little bit sadistic.
Bit like my e-book which comes out in April… (wink)
Actually, no wait (swerve)
Honorary mention to ‘Voodoo doll’ by FUNANDUSUFULSTUFF.COM, boy had it coming. Tap nails to push them in, yeah, not really a game, in any sense of the word, but certainly made me smile.