Jan 30, 2014
Some games hand out points like they’re going out of style. Dawn of the Plow is not one of those games. This arcade game will test players with challenging conditions and a difficult-to-control vehicle, all in the hopes that they can maybe last long enough to do well before being fired.
Controlling a snow plow on a snowy day where car drivers need to get to nondescript places, players must try to keep their paths clear. Snow will accumulate that the cars can drive over, but eventually they become impassable piles which take time to plow. The longer a car is stopped, the unhappier it gets and the lower the approval meter gets. If that empties, it’s game over and the player is fired. Of course, that probably won’t happen much. What will happen is that players will hit cars, which is instant game over. Or the cars will get trapped and buried under snow, which is also game over. Not making things easier is that driving a large truck around, especially on snow, is not easy. Thankfully, players have a horn to help manage traffic, and can collect powerups like a salt blaster to clear up snow instantly.
The thing is, the mechanics of Dawn of the Plow are ones that just require practice. Lots and lots of practice. Learning how the cornering works, especially when trying to turn on snow, is key. Figuring out how to take the right path to clear a snow pile before the cars get angry or worse, buried and thus end the game, is also quite important to learn. These things take time and practice to learn, and even just sitting down with the game and keeping at it until it all starts to set in. The controls work fine on a touchscreen, but I definitely recommend playing with a gamepad if possible because it does feel better. Touchscreen controls are perfectly acceptable as a fallback though.
Then, once the mechanics are learned, it becomes about not making mistakes: learning not to drive into the cars, avoiding risks, but using skillful maneuvers when necessary; these are all so important to master. Managing the entire situation, which gets more challenging on larger boards, is important too. Leave a road neglected and the piles can become unmanageable.
The game is kind of ugly, but in the sense that snow-covered landscapes kind of become ugly after the snow settles in and it gets grayed and all muddied up, so it’s not inaccurate. And the snow plow is hard to control: it has a set of behaviors that are quite different from any other driving game. That the cars are unpredictable doesn’t help either. Really, players need to come in to the mindset that they will fail often at this game until they learn what it’s about. It’s a challenging arcade game, but a fair one, and those willing to tackle the challenge will be rewarded.
Dawn of the Plow Review Rundown
Download: App available at the Google Play Store »