It's not hard to find a game that you hate. It's also not particularly hard to find a game that you love. However, it's not often that you find a game that you both love and hate in equal measures. For me, Impossible Road [$1.99] is that game.
I love Impossible Road for its minimalism. I love the music. I love the strange, immersing, science-lab-experiment atmosphere. I love the bright white ball and twisty, turny, banking road. I love the metallic blue paint job. I love the way it gets the heart thumping harder than a top fuel dragster's V8.
I hate how god-damned crap I am at Impossible Road. I hate that there are people out there with a score in the tens of thousands. I hate that at the time of writing this, one particular person had a score of 34,676. I hate that no matter how hard I try, the best score I can come up with is thirty nine. THIRTY BLEEPING NINE! I hate how frustrating it is and I hate that I keep coming back for more.
I also love how I keep coming back for more. Impossible Road is a real oddity. It's one of those uber hard games that you'd usually have a crack at until you decided it was pointless and throw it out the window, knocking out the neighbor and ending up in a civil lawsuit, yet you keep punishing yourself, in the search of that ever-elusive "New High Score" text. It's an incredibly humbling experience. I don't care how good you are at video games, unless you're the Rain Man of the iPhone game, you're going to truly suck at Impossible Road and you're going to love it. And hate it.
Gameplay is simple. You control a bright white ball on a twisting, endless road and you simply tap either side of the screen to turn in the relevant direction. As well as the twists and turns, there are jumps to negotiate and you'll often find yourself plummeting into the abyss, the screen fading to white. If you manage to land on the ever downward spiraling road again before complete whiteout, you can continue on your impossible quest but trust me, it won't be long before you're headed towards the bright light. That's all there is to it. Roll, steer, roll, fall, land, roll… you get the minimalistic picture. It's simplistic genius.
Dotted along the road are gates that need to be passed through in which to accrue points. Each gate is worth one point. ONE. How the hell can any single, human being play this game long enough to encounter 34,676 of those gates? Who is this person? Do they speak in binary code? Do they eat C++ text books for breakfast? Are they some kind of weird alien/human, creepy-looking science experiment child?
I have tried everything, from staying on the road to trying to tie together massive jumps but still, the best I can come up with is thirty nine and I'm in the top forty five percent in the Game Center leader boards, so at least I'm "slightly" better than average. Perhaps when you have been rolling for a certain amount of time the gates release a higher score. I don't know, I certainly haven't got that far. And I'm not alone, just look at the plethora of Youtube videos bragging about scores "over one hundred". I have to admit though, even that impresses me…
So there you have it. Impossible Road is an impossibly hard, impossibly addictive and impossibly impossible game. I hate it. I love it. Damn you, Kevin Ng, what have you done to my brain?
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