Bumpy Road is an auto-scrolling platforming title that recalls a time when the suggestion of a leisurely Sunday drive didn’t invite gasps of, “What are you, crazy?” The game stars a dapper gentlemen and his lovely wife who have decided to go for a nice long drive. However, the man of the car has a hopeless habit of driving into pits, and his car constantly moves forward; he’s just that determined to get his Sunday ride. You must guide the couple’s travels so that their twilight years don’t end with an abrupt plunge into the abyss.
You play the part of the couple’s personal God by manipulating the landscape around them with your finger. Wherever you slide your finger, the ground raises (with a delightful tinkling xylophone sound, no less). If you put a road block in front of the couple’s jalopy, they slow down; if you nudge them from behind with another bump, they’ll go faster. If you pop the ground up from under them, their car will jump. By jumping at proper intervals, the couple can reach platforms that bridge gaps, and collect vital power-ups.
Jolly good, old boy.
These power-ups, called gizmos, are what keep the car fueled. If the car runs out of fuel, it’s game over, and that would make the man sad. You don’t want that.
Bumpy Road is broken into two separate games, each one with its own high scores and leaderboards. The primary game, called “Evergreen,” is an endless drive. The goal is to survive, but you’ll also want to collect “Memories,” which are black-and-white pictures that dot the landscape and take special effort to capture. When you grab a memory, you’ll be able to view it in a photo album that’s accessible in the game’s main menu.
Spot o’ tea?
The other half of the game, “Sunday Drive,” is a more laid-back stroll through a town that actually performed some winter road repairs. There are no holes to fall down into, so the goal is to get to the finish line as quickly as possible. You can collect speed boosts to aid in this task, and touching clock-shaped gizmos will shave a few precious seconds off the final count.
Despite its platforming elements, Bumpy Road is still a twitch game. For that reason, it won’t keep you occupied for very long. However, it’s arguably the most charming twitch game available on the App Store, and it’s also well-constructed: You’ll return to it again and again to beat your previous distance and time. The game’s graphics and music compliment each other to give the game a ’20s-era nickelodeon aesthetic. It’s just an adorable game to play, look at, and listen to.
Bumpy Road’s seemingly shallow gameplay might not net core gamers looking for some depth in their iPhone offerings, but they ought to give it a whirl anyway. The game may well drive off with your heart.