Johnny Crash is a daredevil cartoon character that shoots himself headfirst out of a cannon and into a plethora of obstacles. Unfortunately, after spending 20 minutes in Johnny’s world, it’s going to be you that wants to slam your head into the nearest hard object.
This is how we’re starting to feel about Digital Chocolate’s lazy ports.
Being a port of an older mobile phone game, Johnny Crash is simple. You begin each game inside of a cannon. The cannon’s aim will continually adjust, pointing from low to high, and it’s up to you to tap the touchscreen when you want the cannon to fire. After you’ve been shot into the air, all that’s left to do is occasionally tap the touchscreen to adjust Johnny in flight. As long as you’re touching the screen, you will reverse your freefall and Johnny will gradually aim upwards and gain altitude. You can only do this for a limited amounted of time, as a bar containing Johnny’s ‘˜flying energy’ rapidly depletes as you touch the screen. Once this energy is gone, you no longer have any control of Johnny, and there is nothing left to do but crash to the ground.
But the ground isn’t the only thing Johnny can crash into. During your flight there’s a bunch of obstacles, including birds, helicopters, tornadoes and lightning bolts, among other things. Hitting these objects will give you bonus points, and chaining together multiple collisions will net even more points. Some obstacles, like the tornado, launch you further into the sky while the lightning bolts replenish some of your flying energy. The farther you fly and more things you hit, the higher your score.
While successfully navigating Johnny into these obstacles and prolonging your flight can be slightly rewarding, the game ultimately boils down to periodically pressing your finger on the touchscreen to aim Johnny upwards. You can only do this for a total of about 8 seconds during the flight, unless you maneuver Johnny into energy boosts along the way (each will give you about 1-2 extra seconds of flight power). The developers did think to add in an alternate, accelerometer based control option which substitutes touching the screen with tilting the device to the left. Unfortunately, this isn’t a very precise way to play the game, and we found ourselves ignoring the option.
With the basic gameplay being so simple, the presentation and amount of content are really the only things that could save Johnny Crash from quickly becoming stale. Sadly, that is not the case. The two music tracks available during gameplay quickly become irritating, and the lack of custom soundtrack support will have you reaching for the vibrate switch on your iPhone in no time (at least that works). The game only has two levels–Texas and New York–that aren’t terribly different from a gameplay perspective, although each does have its own set of challenges.
Let the eagle soar!
For a game based on getting the highest score, Johnny Crash could really use some online leaderboards, but you won’t find them here. And although the graphics are colorful and sharp, Johnny is poorly animated and the hit detection with objects is questionable. There is a pass-it-around multiplayer option that allows for up to 4 players to compete for the highest score, which is a nice touch.
Johnny Crash looks good in screens, but ultimately it’s a poorly implemented port that quickly gets monotonous and doesn’t take advantage of the iPhone in any significant way. Spend your money elsewhere.