Subway Gamer: Giant Boulder of Death

There’s been no posts this week; coincidentally, I’ve played no games this week.  My rental copy of Rayman Legends is somewhere in the aether, and in between reading Night Film and just trying to get caught up on sleep, I’ve not had much time or inclination to play anything in my Steam backlog.  I’m running out of steam with Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, which is a bummer; it’s cute but very tedious, and the game refuses to let me figure anything out on my own.  I’ve been sorta going back and replaying Mass Effect 3 every once in a while, because I’d like to see that Citadel DLC that I bought a few months ago, but that’s really been it.  Basically, I’m in a holding pattern, trying not to get wrapped up in anything, just waiting for Grand Theft Auto 5 to steal me away from my family, my friends, and my continued employment.

Of course, I always have time for iPhone games, and I will always make room on my phone for anything involving PikPok and/or Adult Swim Games, as shown below:


So when the two of them released Giant Boulder of Death (iTunes) yesterday, I snatched it up immediately.  And, wouldn’t you know: it is wonderful.

It is Sisyphus’ worst nightmare, it is Katamari Damacy in reverse:  instead of rolling up objects, your task is to vengefully roll downhill and destroy everything in your path.  (There’s actually a very cute narrative justification for this; the fact that they thought to include a narrative justification for rolling a boulder downhill and destroying everything in your path just makes it all the more special.)  The game has a few controls schemes on offer, but the default tilt scheme works just fine; you just tilt from side to side in order to steer, and you tap the screen in order to jump.

You will steer and jump because there are dangers, of course; the general of the town that you’re ultimately gunning for will set up increasingly difficult obstacles for you to avoid – spike traps, homing mines, robot tanks, etc.   (I hate homing mines with the passion of a thousand burning suns.)

I suppose this is also, technically, part of the “endless runner” genre, and as such it also comes with meta-goals, requiring you to hit certain objects or reach certain multipliers.  Achieving each meta-goal awards you with something new that will populate the world (and which usually gives you a substantial points reward for hitting), which means that at a certain point there’s just tons of crazy things on screen.

The game is free to play, and while there are in-app purchases (because of course there are) they aren’t really all that necessary, and certainly won’t impede your ability to wreck wanton destruction and have a good time in the process.  That being said, I like these developers and want to support them, and so I had no problem shelling out for the coin doubler.  (I am a whore for coin doublers.)

Subway Commute-Specific Criteria:

Can you listen to your own audio?  Yes.  I suppose I should listen to the in-game audio at least once, just to hear it, but you can listen to whatever you want.

Can it be played one-handed? Yes.  The default tilt control scheme works just fine with one hand.

Will you look like an idiot playing it?  Probably not; the tilt control is sensitive enough that you don’t need to do any sort of contortions or anything.

Really, the game is terrific; it’s free, it’s fiendishly addictive, and the only caveat I feel it necessary to provide is that it’s a bit of a battery hog; I showed up to work today after a non-stop 40-minute play session (while listening to Spotify) and my freshly-charged battery was down to 46%, which is quite a lot.  As this sort of thing can often be fixed with a software update, it’s not that big a deal.  Highly recommended.

Author: Jeremy Voss

Musician, wanna-be writer, suburban husband and father. I'll occasionally tweet from @couchshouts. You can find me on XBL, PSN and Steam as JervoNYC.

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