Updated: Cheap Shot: Prairie Chute

Prairie Chute, to celebrate an upcoming update that promises achievements, extra lives, a new voiceover, and a special “diving suit for elite players”, is currently available for free. While this may not have been our favorite recent game, it’s still cute enough to warrant a download for zero dollars. Check it out!

Some developers create games that put players in the boots of soldiers storming the beach of Normandy on D-Day. Some imagine Armageddon-like alien invasions and have players lead a resistance against the interplanetary colonists. But all that’s old hat. Now, a bold developer has outdone them all by dropping parachuting prairie dogs from airplanes. It’s about time someone upped the ante.

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly game to occupy your attention for about three minutes, then you’re in luck: Prairie Chute is just for you. But if you’re a discriminating gamer (and if you’re reading this, we’re guessing that you are), you might want to try a more engaging time-waster like Minigore.

Danger all around.

But let’s get back to the desert. In Prairie Chute, a bespectacled prairie dog leaps from an airplane, pops open a parachute, and begins a descent fraught with danger. The goal is to tilt your iDevice to guide our daredevil hero around obstacles and into the glowing hole in the ground. Instant death occurs if you bump into one of the many obstacles, such as flying buzzards, famished coyotes, or (also native to the desert setting) land mines and electric fences.

If a buzzard comes too close, you can tap it to change its course midflight. Tapping the coyotes commands them to sit, and for a few moments they obey, leaving skillful players just enough time to drop into the glowing tunnel. This is a high-score game, so the idea is to stay alive as long as possible and rack up more points than the other kids on the leaderboards. The art style is lacking (think MS Paint), but the music is a fitting mix of western and blues.

When it comes down to it, Prairie Chute just isn’t our thing. It has slightly cumbersome tilt controls and a less-than-polished overall feel. If you must purchase it, get it for the kids. But if you’re so bent on burning cash, why don’t you just lasso a real prairie dog and take it skydiving? You might get bit, but it’d probably be more fun.

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