What separates the great games from the good games? There's an intangible aspect of making a game feel fun to play that can be difficult to pin down when trying to describe it, and even more difficult for a developer to create. But when a developer nails it down, it's truly sublime. Crossy Road [Free] absolutely nails how a game should feel, which makes it endlessly replayable, and my current go-to pick-up-and-play game.

Crossy Road 1

The game is essentially a randomly-generated take on Frogger, where players initially control a chicken trying to cross highways and rivers to get as far as possible, because the world is endlessly scrolling behind them, and an eagle will come and swoop them up, which is a good enough reason to get in gear. Someday the eagle will come for us all, or we'll get hit by a train, or swept into rapids. Such is the course of the universe.

Really, the game is just the same core concept as Frogger, and on the surface, it might be difficult to think how this is so special. It comes down to structure and feel of the game. As the title's similarity to Flappy Bird may have tipped, there's a bit of an influence there. The scoring is simply about how far you get, and you have only one life, rather than multiple. I think these changes make the game rather accessible, and built for quick sessions.

Crossy Road 3

Crossy Road utterly nails how a game should feel. Tapping to move forward has a great feel to it, with just a bit of whimsy to it with the bouncing. When you get hit by a train, you really feel the impact. There's so many subtle details added to make the game just have a good feeling to it. The characters having their own cosmetic effects goes a long way towards making this game feel pleasing. Having Game Center friends' scores show up while playing is one of my favorite features, and looks great integrated into the world. Even the retries are quick and with the stylish flash of the title screen to get everything reset and restarted. There's also the option to "conserve battery" which reduces the framerate, which means that you don't have to trade battery life in exchange for the stylistic aspects. Either way, the voxel-based visuals are simple-yet-fantastic.

Crossy Road 5

I've already seen complaints about Crossy Road's free-to-play aspects, and I think the nature of such complaints are utter poppycock. Crossy Road's free-to-play monetization is based around playing as different characters, which is pretty much cosmetic. The characters do more than just exist as costumes, like the Mad Wizard will blow up trees, and the eponymous hero of Forget-Me-Not [Free] has flowers to collect. And some characters make the game play at night. These characters can be bought for $0.99 each, or earned randomly in a lottery system, where 100 coins will unlock a new character, with coins earnable through gameplay, video ads, and a regular free gift.

Crossy Road 4

The controls work great. Tapping goes forward, with swiping used to go in any of the four cardinal directions. This does mean that going horizontally quickly requires some quick swipes, which isn't always the easiest thing to do, but it's also a good reminder that it's maybe not the best idea to be running horizontally. There's Everyplay video sharing, but it's an odd implementation in that it doesn't record individual runs, it just has an on-off switch for recording. Whether people like this better than recording individual runs is a good question, but it's definitely unorthodox, and I like the idea of having my best run recorded whether I remember to enable recording or not. At least this means the feature is easily-disabled for those who don't want it enabled.

Crossy Road 2

The game can thankfully be played in any orientation, which makes this great for playing one-handed on iPhone or with a propped-up iPad on a table in equal measure. That goes a long way toward making this game feel so great – it's adaptable to however you want to play it.

The character lottery does give out duplicates, however, and that kind of bugs me, but other than that, this is exactly how free-to-play should work! You don't get any ads unless you consciously choose to view one. And the aspects to spend money on are 100% optional, you can spend the entire game just playing as the starting character and get the same caliber of experience as someone who bought every single character outright. I think it's an amazing balance between having those free-to-play elements, but also making them so that players who don't want to participate don't have to. Also, I hope more characters make cameos in later updates – there's just Forget-Me-Not and the hero of Epoch [$0.99] right now, and I'd love for more characters to show up, as games referencing other games is my favorite thing.

Crossy Road is a simple game, but there's clearly a lot of work that went into making it one of the best 'simple' experiences that can be enjoyed. This is already the kind of game where I'm going back and forth with people for high scores, and sharing my high scores to Twitter. I've become absolutely hooked to this game, and I don't see that ending any time soon. It does a wondeful job at balancing out being accessible, and a free game that both can be played for free, but isn't necessarily afraid to try and make a little money, either. Play this game.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Zerol3onheart

    I downloaded this last night and I was playing for at least an hour. It's ridiculous how fun this game is. I hope it receives as much traction and attention as Flappy Bird did, since this is a much, much better game. Also, the chicken clucks when it jumps make me giggle like an idiot every time.

    • Design by Adrian

      Or the duck quacks!

      And Pew Dee Pug actually sounds like a pug!

  • colbertj

    iPad only?!?

    • ckoerner

      Nope. Universal.

  • PoloBaquerizoH

    Excellent review! Great F2P game!

  • Biggavelli


    Game = universal

    • colbertj

      The link was exclusively to the iPad store. They fixed it now.

  • Delgriffith

    Great review. I really enjoyed the read.

    The download link takes me to an iPad only version of the game. If I searched the game on the App Store it took me to a universal version that I could download on My iPhone.

    • saosijs

      Yeah, weird, the link takes me to a warning message saying that the game is for iPad only. Now, I'm on an iPad. Go figure ...

  • InkyTheGhost

    Yup, loving this game. These devs won me over with the forget-me-not reference because that game is an old time favorite.

  • George

    Life ruiningly addictive. I'm glad it's becoming popular...but I'd better work on my score of 272 if I wan't to stay in the leaderboards harhar.

    • Design by Adrian

      Too late!

  • studepaber

    This game's a gem. Give it a try since it's free, you won't be disappointed!

  • AlpacaLips


  • BitStern

    True words, awesome game and a great review! The presentation of this simple game makes it worth to play.

  • Fedorov

    Everyone is utterly hooked on this amazing game. I'd go so far to put this as a contender for GOTY - gamers need to purchase at least one 69p character to feed these awesome developers please.

    Not until you've spent a few hours on this game do you realise the sheer amount of work and detail that went into this game. All the noises, play it with headphones to hear the traffic and trains whoosh past. The lighting, shadows it's hard to describe but I've not seen or played a game of this high quality for a long time.

    Easy GOTW for me even against all the other strong releases. They've taken a classic Frogger game and made the most addictive endless runner ever. Released as a FREE game with nothing in your face forcing you to spend a penny. We should all buy a character out of guilt...

    • SpikeGuy

      So true! And they're not shoving ads in our faces either.

  • TokyoDan

    Since the button has changed from 'buy' to 'get' I can download any free games. I tap the button it changes to the progress indicator for a half second then changes back to 'get' but does not download. Is there some settting I have to change?

  • Montgomery Gabrys

    I'll have to admit the optional ads and non-req freemium makes me likely to buy a character just to reward the devs for not punishing the players.

  • thetrackt

    I appreciate all the things these guys are doing but this game is just not that fun. What am I missing? Theres nothing to it and you don't get much money to buy the characters that do nothing at all.

    • ion677

      Go home troll

    • Foghorn Irrascible

      I agree with track. It's really odd how people have gone nuts for what is really just Frogger. Who cares?! Lots of people apparently. Just weird.

  • thetrackt

    That's a legitimate question. This game is literally frogger monetized. I was hoping after all the praise there was more to it than that. What I'm hearing and seeing is that... there's not.

    • rich_952000

      What's interesting is that there are branded, licensed versions of Frogger on iTunes, yet this game, Crossy Road, nails the Arcade manic feel better.

  • trazer

    It is a high score chaser, if you don't like this then give this a pass.

    I normally hate those type of games and yet I love this one, go figure. Truly an awesome game in my opinion anyway and I just found it less than an hour ago. Already my wife and daughter are playing too, fun to compete amongst us. My daughter is now sharing with friends too, so far it is a hit with us anyway.

    It is a pick up and play quick time waster, nothing truly deep about it but it is very, very well done. Kudos to the developers, this is good work for sure.

  • Foghorn Irrascible

    I gave it a go but deleted after 5 minutes. It's Frogger. Absolutely astonished at how many people think this is so awesome. It's really not all that.

  • bruab

    "I've already seen complaints about Crossy Road's free-to-play aspects, and I think the nature of such complaints are utter poppycock."

    Poppycock, you say? Is this whole brouhaha over a load of fiddle-faddle, what what?

  • rockyroshi

    Probably gonna buy poopy pigeon just to support the developer. Brilliant game

  • http://www.meteorfury.com/ Meteor Fury

    Was very impressed with this game. I find myself playing it over and over again. The replayability factor is definitely a plus in this game

Crossy Road - Endless Arcade Hopper Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 5