Rarely have we seen a game with a more apt title than The Impossible Game. And while such a thing may sound about as fun as finding a scorpion in your bed, we have to say, it’s surprisingly delightful.
Originally an indy title on the Xbox 360, The Impossible Game is now available to aggravate you and your friends on the go. You play as a perpetually-rolling orange square tasked with progressing through one of the most devious videogame environments ever constructed. Spikes, pits, and platforms are placed in ever more challenging positions, requiring players to have robot-like reflexes to jump and avoid them.
Make no mistake: the odds are stacked against you.
While this sounds like something along the lines of Canabalt, it’s not. The environment is pre-made, so it’s the same every time you play. It’s also excellently designed to sync with the beat of the music. That’s a cool detail, but unless you’re watching someone else play, you’ll probably be too preoccupied by dying to notice.
Your deaths are tracked in an upward-counting tally that will reach triple digits within minutes of booting up the game. Respawning happens almost instantly, so there’s little waiting around.
Shards of square.
All this would be little more than a cruel joke if the game didn’t come with a practice mode. You can enter practice mode at any time by tapping on the flag icon at the bottom of the screen. This drops a checkpoint anywhere on the map and lets you respawn from there when you die. And even though it’s still extremely challenging, if you drop enough checkpoints you’ll be able to reach the end of the level. But alas, there’s no free lunch: To get out of practice mode you have to start from the beginning.
Stat-wise, the game tracks how far you’ve gotten in each mode separately. You can post your scores to Twitter or Facebook, or challenge a friend from within the app. The only thing we really wish the game had was more levels. We suspect that once people beat the game in practice mode and tinker with regular mode for a while, they’ll move on to another game fairly quickly.
Nevertheless, The Impossible Game is definitely fun. The first time we played it, we couldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculously difficult it was. But soon after, we fell into a groove and started thinking of it as an extreme challenge rather than as a joke on us. It really is a well-made, stylish game that most people can enjoy. If they can hack it, that is.