I scribbled a little bit about Impossible Road yesterday in Five of the best smartphone games of 2013. Supposedly – a feature detailing a handful of critically acclaimed joints that I’d yet to sample.
Realising that Kevin Ng’s effort offered Super Hexagon levels of brutality, I dove straight in last night, and, er, I’m not entirely sure what I think.
What is Impossible Road? Well, on the App Store it’s described as “a pure, minimal arcade game about risk, reward, and rollercoasters.” Yeah, that sounds about right.
Essentially you’re tasked with guiding a ball down a roller coaster-style track, with simple left/right controls. It’s an incredibly simple premise, but really stupidly hard.
As I mentioned yesterday, the App Store goes on to say: “When you learn how to cheat the game, and you discover that it is rewarded not punished, the leaderboards will belong to you.”
I was a tad baffled, as if Impossible Road’s developer was trying to cover up some critical design flaw, but I believe he’s referring to the fact that you can intentionally leap off the track and effectively skip ahead.
That’s easier said than done, as being airborne for more than a few seconds will ultimately end your run. Pull it off, however, and you’re laughing all the way to High Score country.
Now for some moaning. The first problem I have with Impossible Road is that there’s nothing to it. You could put in half a dozen runs and you’ve pretty much seen everything there is to see i.e. a ball and some blue and white track.
There are no power-ups; there’s no change in scenery, nothing to invest in, nothing to aim for other than your high score.
Having said that, the “minimalist” thing does fit pretty well with the nature of the game, so I’ll let Kevin away with that.
The other problem I have with Impossible Road is: I’m not convinced it’s possible to be good at it. When you make a mistake in, say, Super Hexagon or Boson X, you know it’s entirely your fault, but Impossible Road feels comparatively random.
A suitable alternative might be Synoptical Studios’ Aerox, which involves guiding a ball around a series of courses with your iDevice’s accelerometer. But heck, if you’re a glutton for punishment, by all means check out Impossible Road.
- Perversely difficult
- Looks good
- Decent soundtrack
- No power-ups or anything
- Only one environment
- Feels a bit random
Summary: Impossible Road delivers in terms of difficulty, but when falling to your death feels beyond your control (on almost every run), it proves irksome.
Developer: Kevin Ng
Price: £1.49 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.