Commuting Cognition: Road Warriors, Infinite Roads

What is this?

I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company (opinions are my own etc), so I’ve been trying to expose myself to more games in this market and attempt to gain an ever-better understanding of them. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is in trying out new games, seeing what they do wrong and right, and try to draw conclusions from them that I can use in the future to make our games better. One of the resources I’ve been using for this is TouchArcade (not sponsored), and their columns listing the new iOS games of the week.

This resulted in me playing a lot more new games during my daily bus rides, but I also feel the need to discuss them somewhere and keep a log of my thoughts instead of just internalising them. So, Commuting Cognition. These will be brief, bus-ride-long thoughts on these games, and should be seen less as reviews and more as first-impression brain dumps. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.

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Road Warriors

Road Warriors is a stunt racing game. It’s single-player, and your opponents spawn at fixed locations, so it’s really less of a race and more of a fast-paced Trials with some cannon fodder thrown in.

Your vehicle auto-accelerates, and your only input is tap to jump / hold in midair to flip. This is similar to Ketchapp’s Rider, which i had trouble getting used to, but the auto-acceleration makes it much more natural since it vastly reduces the chances of accidental flips.

You can also attack other racers by tapping on the crosshair that appears over them, which feels a little clunky and detached. I feel like there would’ve been a better way to integrate this with the existing mechanic, perhaps by firing as you flip, or making the speed boost you get from landing after a flip also trample racers in your path, something like that.

Uniquely, you get one race level per day; once you finish it you’re free to replay it to collect more coins, which you can use to buy lootboxes containing a random vehicle part, but you won’t be able to play in newer levels until the next day. You’re also free to play previous levels that you may have missed — the game launched with all of July, which means 34 levels off the bat, which is impressive — but at the cost of watching a video ad. All of this is so clever. As far as daily incentives go a new level is a pretty massive one, and it means the game is *constantly* growing in content; at the same time, allowing new players to access all of the previous content means they won’t feel left out, and the cost of a video means they’re instantly accessible without the need for grinding coins, while also being annoying enough to make you not want to miss the daily race.

 
Infinite Roads

Infinite Roads is an endless racer. Your car auto-accelerates and you tap either half of the screen to steer left or right, trying to keep yourself on the ever-expanding road; the game ends if you take too much off-road damage.

My first run was a disaster. I’m so used to lane runners at this point that full steering feels weird. The second run went much better though, and it was quite fun; I recommend using a different hand for each half of the screen.

Your car is at the centre of the screen, which really bothers me. Half of the screen is wasted when it could be used for seeing more of the path ahead, i don’t feel like there’s any relevant reason for not setting it at two thirds of the screen.

The levels quickly become lengthy once you get the hang of the controls, but they never felt boring or repetitive to me. You have loops after loops and need to course correct constantly, and the path eventually changes as you progress, first becoming narrower, then turning into slippery ice (that’s as far as i got).

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