One of the most interesting phenomenons that have sprung up from the App Store is how game engines like Unity have empowered so many first-time iPhone developers to create games with full physics simulation. There are a ton of silly little physics games already on the App Store, many utilizing a similar bike riding and ramp jumping mechanic, but one simple thing sets Mr Onions [99¢] apart from the rest: A basket full of groceries.
In the game, you must help Mr. Onions get home from the grocery store, riding his bike across various country roads, all of which are home to hazards such as ramps, tires, floating logs, windmills, and many other things that should never be on any kind of roadway. Mr. Onions can distribute his weight to tilt the bike forward or backward by tilting your iPhone, and pressing the right side of the screen makes him pedal while touching the left side makes him brake.
This is all pretty standard, and the controls will come naturally if you've ever played games like Bike or Die 2 [$5.99 / Free], Moto X Mayhem [99¢, or many others. What sets Mr Onions apart is that the goal of the game is not only to get to the other side of the level, but to get there with what appears to be a loaf of bread, hunk of cheese, and tomato all still in the basket of your bike.
This is so much harder than it sounds, especially in some of the later levels. Keeping three tiny little objects inside of the basket on the front of your bike requires extremely precise control, always being sure to land as gracefully as possible while keeping your speed reasonable. (Your time is also recorded, adding some replay value as you go through levels again to try to beat previous times.)
The simple graphics of the game are silly enough, but few iPhone games have ever had me cackling like such a maniac. The incredibly ridiculous stunts you need to successfully pull off, all while keeping your lunch in your basket, are really something else. Also, there's nothing quite like flying off a windmill as your loaf of bread flips out of your basket, you catch it by powering in to a wheelie, only to just barely lose your tomato before crossing the finish line.
The main down side to the game is how little time it will take you to beat. 20 levels are included, and are slowly unlocked by collecting stars which are awarded by making across the finish line with your entire load of groceries intact. In the future, I'd love to see more levels, or even some kind of online leaderboard integration.
If you've enjoyed these kind of physics games in the past, or just really want to know what it's like trying to get home from the grocery store in the world's most dangerous neighborhood, you really should give Mr Onions a try. I've had a bunch of fun with the game, even though I swear that tomato has something against me.
Note: There has been a high level of debate amongst the TouchArcade crew regarding the actual contents of the basket. I firmly believe it's bread, cheese, and a tomato as that makes the most sense for a sandwich but other things have been suggested including a box of Arm & Hammer as well as an orange, grapefruit, and/or many other things. Perhaps part of the magic of Mr Onions is wondering what he's going home to prepare with the three mystery items.
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