Do you fancy yourself a master multitasker? Joe Danger Touch will be the judge of that. Happy Games’ foray into mobile platforms will have you tapping, swiping, and flicking your way to victory.
The tracks are set up and ready, and now all that’s needed is someone crazy enough to race through gravity-defying leaps, mutilating traps and haphazardly scattered coins. Luckily, Danger is Joe Danger’s middle name – you know, metaphorically – as well as his surname. The motorcycle driving stuntman has ventured into the mobile world looking for new thrills and it turns out that this is where he should have been the whole time.
Joe Danger Touch brings some frantic racing action to your mobile device. It’s a side-scrolling arcade style racing game where the focus is less on winning races and more on simply surviving until the finish line. And it’s not just a port of the PSN/XBLA games – it’s a brand new game specifically designed for touch controls.
In this respect, the game shines. Controls are simple, intuitive, and responsive. Tap to send Joe sailing over speed bumps, hold to make him duck through tunnels, swipe to pop a wheelie. A strange talking mole creature takes you through the different functions as you get your bearings, but it’s just as easy to jump in and pick up the basics.
Every track you zoom through is bursting with vivid colours, and tons of detail. Every obstacle and smiling background feature pops with a simple polish that’s a feast for your eyes. You’ll barely notice the environments, though, as you zoom by collecting extras. Your main goal is to guide Joe to the finish line without maiming him (or in some cases to get him there before his opponent), but each level also has a number of extra challenges. Some extras net you a money bonus. Others are never quite explained – finding and tapping on the Hello Games logo happily tells you “Discovery!” and leaves it at that.
Each level also has three main challenges. You may need to collect a certain amount of coins, execute perfect jumps, form the word “danger” by tapping letters you pass, or complete a number of other tasks. Completing these earns you medals, which are needed to unlock the following levels. The amount of medals needed for the unlocks is fair, and you never feel the need to grind.
Getting all three medals in one run earns you a pro medal and a silly “fact” about Joe – who holds the world record for most bones broken from that time he landed on a skeleton. For anyone who loves collectables this extra level of challenge will be enough incentive to replay levels. Everyone else might be disappointed to learn that collecting all the medals only unlocks a special credits race, and that pro medals don’t seem to unlock anything other than bragging rights.
Even if you’re not aiming to get all the medals, you will find yourself doing some major multitasking in well-designed levels that keep your eyes glued to the screen and your fingers at the ready. One level can ask you to jump over a bus then swipe to change lanes while tapping on a coin that’s floating away in a bubble and avoiding the random blockade that’s just sprung up in front of you. If it sounds like a lot, it is – but Joe Danger Touch keeps the action under control so it never becomes overwhelming or frustrating.
As you complete levels you also earn money, which can be used to unlock a whole crew of other characters and costumes. Some stages require a specific character, and while it’s never really explained why Elvis Presley is racing against a giant cupcake, it doesn’t make the slightest bit of a difference: it’s just part of the game’s great quirkiness and abundance of personality.
The different characters offer various bonuses and perks that can give you an advantage in achieving high scores on the leaderboards. You can buy coins through microtransactions to speed up the process of getting the best characters, but all of the options are available without having to pay for anything.
Even if you don’t aim to collect every medal, or have no friends to brag to about your awesome leaderboard score, Joe Danger Touch is a great game simply because it’s just fun to play. It’s hectic and exhibits great use of touch controls without ever feeling gimmicky. Hello Games brags that Joe Danger Touch features over 20 hours of gameplay, and while I managed to race through it in just a few hours, the game offers plenty of replay value to keep you coming back for more insanity too.
Joe Danger Touch from Hello Games is out now for iOS devices.