Dec 20, 2012
If 2012 is known for anything in the world of apps it should be about the rise of the endless runner. Games like Temple Run have taken over the addiction throne from the usual skill/puzzle games like Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. The reason these games are so addictive is because no matter what there is never an end, and the game always ends on account of a mistake of the player. This mechanic is pretty much exactly what makes these games so addicting because they leave the player with this feeling that something is unfinished; that all they need to do is not make the same mistake and they will progress further. I do not mean to sound conceited or elitist but I find that it is hard for me to truly become addicted to mobile games. Sure, I will love them for a while but like a bachelor with commitment issues I quickly become bored and move on. This all changed when my girlfriend had me download Hill Climb Racing and this semester’s final grades might be a reflection of how much class time I spent engrossed in this game.
Instead of most endless runners which put the player above the action looking down this game operates very similar to those dirt bike flash games where the player controls the physics of a motorcycle rider over a turbulent terrain. The view is from the side and the goal is simply to advance as far as possible over 8 different rugged terrains. The catch here is that the basic jeep that is given to start with has terrible traction and struggles to get up even the most basic of hills. Combine this with a ever depleting gas meter and for the first few tries the jeep does not get very far. A standard coin system allows for upgrades to the vehicle as well as unlocking better vehicles and new maps. What is nice is that these upgrades are really well spread out and there are enough of them that a fully decked out car takes an amazingly long time to obtain even though it feels like it is being constantly upgraded.
With each upgrade the impact is noticeable and that is what makes the game so addicting because every unscalable hill is just one traction upgrade away from being just a bump in the road. Mountains that once seemed impossible at the beginning now are jumped over without the slightest thought. No matter how powerful the vehicle the player possess is it never feels overpowered, and yet the game never is viewed as cheap or unfair. Each level has checkpoints that give coin bonuses and it is a great feeling struggling to get to Level 6 and then suddenly cruising all the way to Level 9 in one go. Hill Climb Racing is one of the greatest games I have played on my Android device and I strongly recommend that it moves right to the top of any download list.