Developer: Pixelocity Software
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime: Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Danger Boat is Pixelocity Software’s second title after the asynchronous turn-based racing game Disc Drivin’ which I still play from time to time. This time, they have an endless boating game. Yes, boating. That could be anticipated from the title, but it’s not usually something featured in gaming. Players drive a speedboat that goes headfirst into danger, whether that be waves that risk crashing the boat into rocks, whirlpools that send the boat flying, or random missiles that come at the boat, this is no time for cowardice! Boat onward, comrades!

Wait, missiles? The “Danger” in Danger Boat is never really spelled out, nor is the reason why the captain of the eponymous boat of danger can’t just take their time boating through the hazardous waters, but things get really dangerous. Thankfully there’s powerups like lasers, danger-eliminating helicopters and an old-fashioned turbo boost to help tackle the danger.

The game is free-to-play, and it appears to do a good job at balancing the two tricky elements of free-to-play titles: it’s possible to play and enjoy for free, but it’s also built so that money can be made off of the game as upgrades and new boats do take a while to unlock just through normal gameplay. They can definitely help with high scores and can make the player look cooler, but the core game is still perfectly playable.

There is a permanent score multiplier system that increases as new objectives are completed, which helps out with high scores tremendously. However, the objectives feel far too often like they’re about failure, like dying at a certain point, or dying by certain methods x number of times. These objectives are occasionally fine, but when they feel like they’re popping up constantly, they can be a hindrance to actually having fun with the game.

The music by Whitaker Trebella fits the game like a glove: it sounds like a mix of surfer music with Harry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” theme. While the premise of endless boating stands out, it does control identically to many other vertical endless games, by tilting left and right to move. The waves physics represent the biggest original element that challenges players. Otherwise, it’s not speed that kills, it’s the difficulty of navigating the sudden hazards with the fixed ones like rocks.

I felt like the other big issue with the game was satisfaction. For some reason, getting high scores just never really clicked with me. The game doesn’t make a big deal about them and the Game Center leaderboards button is kind of tucked away. Seeing and passing up friends’ high scores in-game would help with engagement. While I think the game is solid, and not a bad free download, it’s missing that magical element that makes the great endless games so sticky.

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