The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Dawn of the Plow
Dan FitzGerald’s Dawn of the Plow ($1.99) is exactly the kind of iPhone game I love. A simple idea executed at a high level, with enough subtle depth that it feels like you could always be improving your skills. Easy to play but hard to master, if you want to be cliche about it. Dawn of the Plow gets that right.
Among the games that nail that special combination, it’s the ones with quirkiness and personality that end up earn themselves an extended stay on my device. Dawn of the Plow gets that right too. Your job is to plow the snow piles that are blocking the roads and preventing people from getting home. Easier said than done. The game is played from an isometric perspective on a square map with a number of roads winding across it. If a vehicle can successfully make it from one side of the map to the other, you’ll score a point. If you accidentally crash into a car, it’s game over. There’s a bit more to it too, like a selection of cool power-ups for your plow and the ability to travel “through" the edges of the map and appear on the opposing side again, a la traveling through the opening on the map in Pac-Man. But clearing the road of piles of snow so cars can make it through is the gist of the game.
What makes Dawn of the Plow so interesting is the handling of your plow. Actually telling the plow what to do is easy enough. You start out stationary and swipe up to start moving, and your plow will just move on its own. Swipe down again to cause it to stop, and down agin while stopped to move in reverse. Then you’ll just tap either side of the screen to turn. But, there is a huge difference between how your plow handles on pavement compared to how it handles in the snow-covered parts of the map. In other words, driving through the snow feels like, well, driving through the snow. Your vehicle moves and turns like it’s fender-deep in molasses, and you have to compensate for that as you simply can’t stay on the paved roads all the time. In fact the majority of the time you won’t be on the roads, but it is crucial to understand how your plow behaves on the two different terrains.
It’ll feel awkward for at least the first dozen games or so, which isn’t really that many as games are brief when you’re new. It’s worth sticking with until it “clicks" as this is the kind of game that you almost compulsively play over and over because you feel like you’re skills are improving, and that next game will definitely be “the one" that tops your previous high score. And who needs to eat and bathe and go to work anyway? Then, once you feel like you’re finally getting a handle on things, you’ll unlock a medium-sized map followed by a large-sized map and realize that everything you thought you knew was a lie and now you have to adapt all your strategies to deal with the changes. It’s brilliant.
Seriously, especially if you’re in a part of the world where snowy weather is keeping you inside snuggled under a blanket, give Dawn of the Plow a try as if you’re into these quirky high-score chasers then this will be your next obsession.