364565_largerRight, I don't care that Garfield's Wild Ride [Free] is "just another endless runner"… it has Garfield! When I was a wee tyke, I had Garfield everything. I had a Garfield pillowcase, a Garfield ruler, Garfield stuffed toys, a multitude of Garfield books, hell, I even had a Garfield stapler. So yeah, I'm a bit of a fan. Jim Davis' fat orange cat has provided me with many a warm fuzzy over the years and I still to this day enjoy reading about his antics.

What strikes me as odd is that with such a popular character, there haven't been that many decent Garfield games over the years (at least predating smart phones) and the ones that I have played tended to stray from the cartoon series and books a bit too much. But when you think about it, there's a pretty good reason.

In the books, Garfield does pretty much, well, nothing. He sits around on Jon's chest, sleeps and eats lasagne. If he steps outside the house, he is instantly lost, so the extremely small area that he occupies wouldn't make for much variety in a videogame. The brilliance of Garfield, for the most part, comes from his dialogue… or at least, his internal monologue, that only other cats have the mystical power to decipher.

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Garfield's Wild Ride addresses the issue by following the chunky feline during what he does best; sleeping. Yes, the G cat is having a bit of a nightmare and it's up to you to control him through this glowing world of weirdness, whilst collecting as many golden coins and greasy slices of lasagne that you can get your paws on.

Garfield's Wild Ride is pretty much a Jetpack Joyride [Free] clone but thankfully, it's an enjoyable one and not just a rushed hatchet job trying to cash in on the already over-populated genre.

As with Jetpack Joyride, Garfield "runs" left to right and when you touch the screen, he flaps his little arms like a giant, orange cat-nary and flies into the sky. The controls aren't quite as smooth as the previously mentioned game but I think that's more of a design choice, due to Garfield flapping about, rather than being propelled by some manner of jetpack.

IMG_1343Of course, it's not as simple as just flying up and down. Various obstacles enter the screen from the right, hell bent on turning our favorite cat into an orange smudge on the sidewalk. The most common obstacles are a strange hybrid marshmallow/mattress thingy that come in two varieties: static and the pesky pink ones that move up and down. There are also a bunch of other characters equally determined to snatch one of Garfield's nine lives, such as witches, birds, cars and even UFOs. Oh and Garfield doesn't really have nine lives, it's an endless runner… but it's also a game about a cat, so I had to get it in there somewhere.

Graphically, the artists have done an excellent job of capturing the colorful world of our stripy hero. Trees dance up and down playfully and the streets are populated by various ambling characters such as pizza delivery boys and dejected postmen, and everything is immersed in a dreamy glow.

The audio of the game is also of a high quality. The music is varied and extremely well produced. Each time you play the game, one of several different themes sets the mood, from 60's pop to eerie sci-fi tunes and even a gospel-like ditty, keeping the ears nicely entertained.

Play-wise, the game is very well balanced. As well as his flapping, Garfield also has several power-ups at his disposal, such as Giant Odie, Pookie Bear, Super Garfield and a Super Skateboard. The power-ups are obtained by collecting the various cubes that appear from time to time throughout the game. Giant Odie basically acts as Garfield's trusty steed for five seconds (longer via upgrades), also making him invincible for that time. Pookie swings around acting as a shield and remains in play until Garfield hits an obstacle, as do Super Garfield and the Super Skateboard. Super Garfield allows for faster flying and the skateboard takes away Garfield's power of flight and replaces it with four wheels, a helmet and the ability to leap buildings in a single bound. The power-ups can also be upgraded to act as coin magnets.

IMG_1372Now, this is all well and good, but unfortunately there are some bad points -  most notably, the IAP system.

Garfield's Wild Ride comes with one theme installed, The Street. You can purchase extra themes with currency collected within the game but the cheapest theme (Jungle) is 100k coins. Even if you use the coin doubler (which of course, costs money), you'll be lucky to average more than 400-500 coins a game, so you'd be back in nappies before you were able to unlock said theme. Then there's the Island theme... a whopping 500k.

Of course you can outright pay for these items by buying extra coins, but you'll be spending in the tens of dollars. Personally, I think it's a little greedy and most people will simply make do with the default theme, which is a shame.

You can also upgrade your power-ups, and at first it's relatively affordable, but as they level up the upgrade prices increase exponentially. On top of the themes and power-ups are a gazillion different options for costumes and head gear, as well as special effects like rainbows that appear to emit from Garfield's bottom. There are also eleven different golden Garfield trophies that can be bought with the slices of lasagne collected during the game. All of these extras are utterly useless but fun nonetheless.

On top of the IAP prices, there are a few other issues, such as minor audio and graphical glitches, but the biggest bug is the fact that Game Center doesn't work. These are minor niggles, as no doubt there is an imminent update to address them, but until then they remain a bit of an annoyance.

In all fairness, if you don't like endless runners, you won't like Garfield's Wild Ride, but if you do, there is a whole heap of fun to be had without spending a single penny over the initial purchase price, though you may very well feel the urge to part with those hard earned bucks after playing this charming little game. It's Jetpack Joyride but with Garfield - can't argue with that now, can you? I love that furry little guy.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Eseres

    Why don't the developers stick to either a free game with IAP stuff, or a paid for game with no IAP's? I get so mad when i pay for a game i want, just to discover that the game is very hard and i get forced to buy expensive upgrades. I had this game on my iPad that used diamonds as an extra currancy, and it costed 700 NOK (about 87-88 EURO) for 700 diamonds... Thats when a free game stops being free!
    As i've stated in several previous comments, its better to charge a little more for a game and get rid off all IAP stuff. And if a developer is absolutely hell-bendt on adding IAP stuff, the game itself should be 100% FREE.

    I used to love Garfield too, but as this game got IAP, AND costs money, I'll pass.
    0.99$ isn't much, but still. Its a principal!

    • themostunclean

      To quote a commenter on a previous article-

      ".99¢ is the new free."

      There are very few .99¢ games on the App Store that don't have IAP. It's kind of to be expected at this point.

      • Adams Immersive

        I don't find .99 IAP-less games to be rare at all. But the real offense isn't IAP in general (I don't mind a .99 game asking another .99 to unlock a Part II, say) but rather consumable IAP. Combining the consumable IAP model (which I despise) with the premium model (which I like) is not good a good match.

        (I also wouldn't mind paying more than .99 up front.)

      • pdSlooper

        Yeah, the $1 app with $1 level packs tend to go down alright with me. Though a lot of them had the level packs added sometime after release, so you get a full game for your buck.

    • JPaterson

      The free game doesn't cease to be free. You are under NO obligation to spend any real money on IAP purchases; they are completely optional.

    • okaa-pi

      I am in the developer team of Garfield's Wild Ride and I can't agree more with you. I just want you (and other customers) to know that initially, the game was free with IAP.
      It's the editor (Namco-Bandai) who decided to distribute it within the cost of $0.99.

  • shadax

    This game was a waste of a buck and the time playing it. I was looking for a Jetpack Joyride alternative with a Garfield twist, instead it's a very clunky, hastily designed runner with terrible hit detection. Oh, and IAP.

    Save your buck.

    • http://www.thebassman.ca thebassman

      Yeah, that's been my experience playing it for the past 15 minutes... clunky, odd graphics, and a brutal IAP scale. The best part about Garfield, as mentioned in the oddly favorable review, is his internal dialogue... yet this game has NO dialogue. Pretty disappointing and uninteresting entry into the Endless Runner category if you ask me.

Garfield's Wild Ride Reviewed by Karl Burnett on . Rating: 3.5