Simplistic controls are a staple in creating a competent iOS game these days, seeing as how Angry Birds [$0.99] soared to heights never expected, in part due to its easy pick-up and play format that anyone can enjoy.
While This Could Hurt [$0.99] capitalizes on this trend, it’s nearly to a fault to where the game is almost too much on autopilot, leaving you yearning for more control of your fate in the long run.
In This Could Hurt, your main goal is to get to the end of a winding path, avoiding any and all of the obstacles along the way. You’ll have to dodge spikes, fire holes, shooting darts and more. Your only control when it comes to not being hit by these obstacles is when your character stops, as he will continue on down the path automatically otherwise.
This automatic control, only allowing you to control when the character stops, has both positive and negative connotations. It's good because it doesn’t require any complex maneuvers and allows you to even play with just one hand, but it also weighs the game down a bit in a way that can be frustrating. Without having total control, your character will jump right into harm’s way, with much of it feeling totally out of your hands.
With more control over the character’s movement, you’d be able to turn, jump, or change direction to avoid the obstacles. The saving grace for the one-button approach is that it may allow you to achieve the time goals a bit easier, if you can somehow master it.
Spicing up the gameplay a bit are the power-ups you can buy in the in-game shop if you’re feeling up to it. These power-ups can be bought with acorns you can either earn by playing the levels, or (you guessed it) by purchasing them with real money. The acorns are definitely cheap enough if you choose to go that route, at least.
Unfortunately, the power-ups only last for one use, meaning you will have to buy them over and over if you want to keep using them. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it does make the game a bit more challenging in a way that seems fair.
Despite its flaws, This Could Hurt looks absolutely stunning on any device you play it on (Universal apps continue to be fantastic). It also helps that there’s four different level themes to choose from (three must be unlocked), each with their own unique obstacles to overcome and conquer. The game also sounds great, with a full soundtrack to accompany each level and theme.
Leaderboards round out the feature set nicely, providing you additional incentive to use those acorns to boost your previous times and take on your friends.
This Could Hurt isn’t quite what we’d been hoping for when it comes to the next generation of iOS platformers. That said, the game still plays great and you could still get at least several hours of enjoyment out of it, just set your expectations accordingly.
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