I’ve had a new wind when it comes to racing games lately. There’s a boon on iOS in terms of MFi compatible games, and gyro controls have come a long way since they were introduced so many years ago. While racing is the perfect subgenre to exploit any energy system, the developers of Blocky Highway (Free) have managed to craft a limitless experience that follows the same generous IAP principle as Crossy Road.
Blocky Highway has a reasonable amount of control options, including touch, tilt + touch, and a completely customizable placement of icons. The tilt controls work very well (weaving in and out of traffic is really responsive), and it’s easy enough to brake or accelerate as needed with the tap of a button. I initially gravitated towards the touch-only system, but after trying out the combo controls I was hooked.
Each level takes place on a highway, sporting three variants — one way, two way (hard mode), and “free ride," which removes damage. Two way is easily my favorite, as it opens up a new risk-reward system where you can tempt fate by going in the other lane. The latter option is rather rare for these types of games, and it allows players to practice driving to their heart’s content. For the most part, this is an endless driver, but missions help keep you interested, and are reasonable enough to have to work towards, but also feasibly complete (“near miss" 25 cars for example). You can also re-roll your three missions with 10 coins.
Obstacles and traffic are generated with patterns in mind, so you can dip and dodge hazards without feeling like the game is cheating or boxing you in. Sound effects also cue you in on certain bits, like an incoming train, and power-ups like an invincible tractor trailer add a cool arcade feel to the proceedings. There’s also sidequests available, like collecting letters to spell out words, on top of the coins scattered about the road and the aforementioned mission setup.
Blocky Highway has a rather simple IAP scheme that’s easy to swallow. Everything is $0.99, from the removal of ads, to character and track unlocks. Since you can acquire everything content-wise in-game (by way of coins earned), it’s not a dealbreaker. You can also watch videos to earn coins, similar to Crossy Road, or revive after a crash. Cars essentially operate the same regardless of the theme (truck, city, racing, military, construction, and minivan), so the changes are mostly for aesthetic purposes outside of the additional stages.
Blocky Highway is a surprisingly engaging racing game that happens to be mashed up with an endless format. It’s easy to just go and take a whimsical ride with no energy involved, and if I get a reward — great — otherwise I’m just having fun.