Joe Danger is back by popular demand. Released on PSN back in 2009, this stunt bike riding, daredevil game was the epitome of a perfect downloadable title — simplistic yet challenging, entertaining, and affordable. And it’s polish didn’t go unnoticed as it was soon thereafter brought over to XBLA.
Now, a few years later, Hello Games has decided to test the mobile gaming waters. Of course, as we’ve learned in the past, console games don’t always translate well into mobile games. Does Joe’s high-flying, daredevil antics on a touch device live up to the gameplay on a console?
At $2.99, Joe Danger Touch isn’t one of the more affordable iOS games, but it is one of the more polished and addicting. The simplistic nature of sidescrollers is nothing new to mobile games, so it’s really no surprise that Joe Danger Touch doesn’t miss a beat when compared to its predecessors.
Before I continue, it’s important to note that Joe Danger Touch is not a simple port of past versions of the game. Instead, it was built from the ground up specifically for mobile devices and tablets. With that in mind, there are a few fundamental differences, such as not being able to change your speed. The auto-run effect might be viewed by some as “dumbing down” the gameplay, but it really serves the game best in the long run.
Mobile games sometimes make the mistake of trying to do so much. By giving the player too much control and adding too many virtual buttons, it often leads to jumbled, clunky gameplay. Joe Danger‘s auto-drive ability allows the player to focus on the main task at hand — avoiding obstacles, collecting objects, and making it to the finish line.
Don’t think for one second though that because you don’t control Joe’s speed, it’s simply watch and tap occasionally. Joe Danger Touch requires you to take full advantage of the iOS touch screen capabilities, from the beginning timing boost granted by perfectly swiping Joe out of the entry gate, to swiping to switch tracks, to tapping to grab items — there’s plenty to keep you busy and interactive during the game. And the challenge definitely ramps up as you progress through the game.
The “three star” ranking system, which allows you to rank up and unlock new content, is present in the iOS version. Earning stars is different depending on the stage. This allows the game to mix things up and avoid the repetitiveness many auto-run sidescrollers fall victim to.
Of course, there is an in-app purchasing system that allows you to pay money to unlock content, but the game doesn’t force you to do so. Rather than limit your gameplay based on how much you spend, the shop is more there as a helpful crutch. There are bonus levels which require you to buy a certain costume with in-game coins, but it’s possible to just skip them and continue on your way. With that being said, it’s fully possible to enjoy the game without spending the cost of the initial purchase.
Joe Danger Touch lacks multiplayer support, but in its place offers Game Center challenges. This allows you challenge others and ride through stages they haven’t even unlocked yet. Still, it would’ve been nice to race with a buddy.
Joe Danger’s 2.5D perspective gives you the feel of a 2D sidescroller, while incorporating 3D graphical elements. The background is filled with vivid detail and vibrant color, but not to the point where it’s distracting from the task at hand.
Hello Games has successfully proved with Joe Danger Touch that it is possible to bring a console game over to mobile devices and still present the same fun experience. Joe Danger Touch isn’t the exact same game as on consoles, but it does offer enough of the core presentation and gameplay experience to appeal to both newcomers and fans of the original.