When it comes to fine television, you might think of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, or Game of Thrones. One show you probably don’t think about ABC’s Wipeout. Wipeout is a game show on which contestants run through a cartoonish obstacle course, enduring loads of hilarious spills and faceplants. It focuses less on athleticism and more on slapstick and humiliation. The courses are goofy and nearly impossible, and the spills the contestants take are always good for a chuckle. It may not be great television, but it makes for a very fun video game.
In Wipeout the game, you play as a contestant on the game show, trying to complete obstacle courses within a certain amount of time. Each course is suspended over water and loaded with pits, swinging posts, bouncy balls, rotating platforms, and all manner of padded impediments just waiting to knock you off your platform. Every time you take a swim, you lose precious seconds. Reach the finish line quickly, and you can earn ‘Ballsy Bucks” and coins.
She’s a good sport.
The game gives you plenty of things to spend these two types of currency on, including the ability to unlock new characters, courses, or one-time use power-ups. The courses are all great, because each one is more ridiculous than the last. Before you know it, you’re dodging swinging hamburgers and hotdogs. It’s also great to play as different characters, because they each feel unique. Some run faster, or jump farther, or are more well-rounded than others. However, no matter who you play as, your character is at the mercy of ragdoll physics, which is always good for a laugh.
Controlling the character is done by using swipes and taps. No controls appear onscreen, but if you slide your left thumb either direction, your character starts to move. Tap on the right side of the screen, and he or she jumps. If you’ve played a side-scrolling platformer on iOS before, you’ll feel right at home here. If you haven’t, you’ll figure it out quickly enough.
There’s also a Time Trials mode, which lets you play through any level you’ve beaten to meet predetermined time-based goals. Getting three stars on any of these levels is extremely tough, but each attempt helps you rack up more currency to buy power-ups or unlock new characters. The only thing missing here is an online leaderboard. As fun as it is to beat the time goals, it would be even more fun if it let you compare your times with your friends.
It’s also kind of annoying when the game asks you to spend real-life money to buy in-game currency. We’d give it a pass if Wipeout were a freemium game, but since it costs a couple of bucks to begin with, it’s a little grating when a pop-up advertising in-app purchase appears onscreen.
Equally annoying are the parts where you’re totally at the mercy of chance. Many stages have a series of pink bouncy balls that you have to navigate, with very little control over your character. As you’re flung from ball to ball it’s up to the gods of slapstick whether or not you’ll end up on the other side. Even here, however, the ragdoll physics are funny.
Wipeout is a very solid platformer that’s a lot of fun whether you’re a fan of the show or not. Just try not to trip over the hotdogs.