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.
Silly Walks is I Am Bread meets QWOP, but much easier to control. It’s good wacky fun.
You control a pineapple thing that is constantly rotating on one leg, and tap to make it switch to the other leg. Doing this in succession allows you to move QWOP-style, but the simple controls are much easier to grok. The aesthetic and mood are very similar to I Am Bread, but the game relies on quick, short levels instead of long intricate ones, which work especially well in mobile. These levels, the ones i played anyway, constantly introduce new concepts, like having to unplug a hot waffle maker before making it through, or running from a killer swiss knife that chases you throughout the level.
The super charming aesthetic and grokkable, non-frustrating controls make the game easy to get into, and the new content in each level incentivises you to push forward. This was on the top 10 free games in the US chart last i checked, and for once i can understand why.
Run on the Beat is a runner game with rhythm game aspirations.
You control a character constantly running forward and must tap on marked platforms, ostensibly to the beat of the background music, to jump across platforms. The tutorial doesn’t make it clear that you should try to jump to the beat (even if the title screen makes that pretty clear), and it took me a while to realise why that wasn’t coming across.
The placement of the platforms felt really weird and inconsistent, almost random; what i realised is that they match the BPM of the song but not any of its instruments, which was throwing me off because i didn’t have anything to follow directly. This is especially noticeable in harder difficulties where the placement feels even more haphazard. To its credit, tough, the coin placement and the sounds they make when you collect them do add a nice layer to the song.
The levels are really long for one-miss deaths, which is particularly weird given that there’s no continue system in place.
You have a lengthy list of songs all available in two difficulties right from the start, but given the oddness of the platform placements i really didn’t feel much interest in exploring them further.