The world's most determined stuntman wheelies over to Apple's gaming tablet in the third-person platform racer Joe Danger Touch (Hello Games, reviewed with iPad 3, rated 9+, $2.99).
Within a completely rebuilt game from its entertainment console origins, the player controls this ambitious daredevil zooming across landscapes atop his motorcycle while guiding him through 50 side-scrolling courses with the swipe, tap and touch of a finger.
Joe barrels down each raceway on his own accord but looks for guidance from the player to traverse such obstacles as ducking through pipes, avoiding large road blocks (tap to knock them over), jumping high over spikes or simply floating along on exhaust fans.
The action is a frenetic, adrenaline rush each run, buoyed by a colorful animated landscape, a male voice piping out direction, cartoon characters popping up to provide a chuckle, the occasional batch of mousetraps to avoid, an occasional flying saucer whizzing by and a musical score Mario or Sonic would dig.
The cocky copycat of Evel Knieval finds himself in an ever-growing complexity of obstacle courses and the player barely has time to react to his high-speed predicaments.
Hello Games' boasts more than 20 hours of game play, and I can easily see that realized for those retentive types looking to successful complete all the goals of the courses. It will take a keen eye, memorization skills and lightening reaction times throughout the events.
I'll warn in advance: Put the iPad in a lap. You'll need a digit from both hands at least in the later, more complex levels to keep up with completing objectives.
These include the variations of tapping letters floating around to spell words, beating a computer-controlled character to the finish line (swipe to pull off speed-enhancing wheelies), timing a set of jumps perfectly and landing on a specific set of targets, to name a few.
All the action leads to collecting precious gold stars, coins and medals during the harried hijinks. Completing the course objectives also leads to collecting more medals. When a player accumulates enough, his next tour, i.e. set of challenges unlocks.
Although I appreciated the wider swath of Disney Channel looking terrain viewed with the iPad, a younger reviewer was equally enamored playing it on an iPhone.
When a player does make a mistake, and he will often, Joe pays the price with his bike busting apart with him flying into a crumpled mass, certainly as visually but not as violent as a Tex Avery cartoon.
Additionally, a clever extra, sure to keep the younger players engaged, is that Joe can purchase with accumulated coins more than 30 costumes to wear as he rides.
Ranging from a Zombie to Mr. Chuckles (a chimpanzee) to Santa Claus, the garb also plays an important role to unlock special courses and each offers special attributes to help Joe on his rides, such as coin bonuses. I especially appreciated the Elvis costume, an exaggerated homage to the King but a guaranteed smile every time I put it on him.
When the last shark tank is leapt over, Joe Danger Touch delivers a mobile gaming experience that's outrageously under priced and recklessly addictive for any junior daredevil in the family.
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