If you’ve ever seen a music video for Gorillaz, you know they’ve created a number of mind-bending virtual environments, like an ape graveyard, a roller-coaster highway, and a floating windmill, to name a few. Escape to Plastic Beach lets you glide around an environment from their newest album, but the game isn’t nearly as fun as the Glyder games that inspired it.
Strapped into the glider is Murdoc, whose yellow-nailed hand points you to your goal on each mission. Half the time you’ll be chasing down 2D, a fellow band member who tries to escape Plastic Beach in a boat, submarine, and plane. Murdoc has machine guns strapped to his glider, so you can shoot down 2D before you return to home base. You can also shoot at floating targets and attacking pirate ships as you glide around.
Maybe it’s because your empty eyes give everyone the creeps.
The problem is that flying is a bit of a chore. In the Glyder games, which seem to be the obvious inspiration for Escape to Plastic Beach, you could dip and dive to build up speed. The very act of moving around in the Glyder games is fun. In Plastic Beach, though, diving isn’t a good way to build up speed. Instead, you have to rely on flying through red rings to stay in the air.
You’ll have to earn enough points to unlock new levels and earn medals, and these goals don’t change over the course of all eight levels. At the end of the game, you’ll still be shooting down pirate ships and flying through rings. One user-unfriendly change from Glyder is that you have to fly straight through pickups, instead of just flying close to them.
Help Gorillaz battle piracy– the old fashioned kind.
Probably the biggest problem with Gorillaz: Escape to Plastic Beach is that it runs horribly on the latest iOS. If you have iOS 4.0 or above, avoid this game. Instead of a smooth flight, you’ll experience lots of choppy turbulence and muddled graphics that make the game nearly unplayable.
Also, we were disappointed by the music in the game. We were expecting some full-length Gorillaz tracks, but all we got were a few repeated bars. The voice-over work isn’t bad, though.
Even if you enjoy music by the Gorillaz, you can probably take a pass on this iPhone game. It feels a bit like a cheap advergame, just a step or two above the Barclaycard Waterslide game. Pick up the Glyder games instead, and just listen to Gorillaz music while you play.