Developer: Adult Swim Games
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Giant Boulder of Death is a game that doesn’t mess around. Its title is exactly what the game is about: controlling a giant boulder that causes death and destruction. It’s another winner from Adult Swim Games.

GiantBoulderOfDeath-3GiantBoulderOfDeath-4Thanks to PikPok and Adult Swim Games’ commitment to high production values, Giant Boulder of Death shines. The Bavarian theme, rolling through forests, cottages, and eventually giant tanks, is so amusing and looks great with the grainy film effect that adds an additional stylistic touch. The music is a perfect fit, especially with the operatic “Game over!” song at the end of a run when killed by spikes, mines, or deep chasms. It is over when the fat lady sings, apparently. If destroying everything in my path with a giant rolling boulder ever gets old, well, I don’t want to live on this planet any more.

The game is free-to-play, and it’s set up much like how Temple Run 2 is, with both coins for upgrades and gems for reviving and other boosts. The game hands out coins and gems just often enough to where the player feels like they’re actually earning them, but not often enough to where one would just want to spend them all willy-nilly. It’s balanced to where those who just want a free game can enjoy it for a while, but the dedicated will get value out of spending money on coins or additional gems in order to get upgrades sooner or to use the boost slots more often. It’s a great balance for this type of free game, where the monetization is there but doesn’t hinder enjoyment.

GiantBoulderOfDeath-2GiantBoulderOfDeath-5Oh, and the game uses Facebook integration in the best way possible. It’s much like Bejeweled Blitz where friends’ high scores are seen on a leaderboard between games, but when passing up that score in-game, a billboard with their face actually pops up and can be smashed. I have nothing against Jeff Scott, 148Apps’ editor-in-chief, but I do enjoy smashing his face whenever I pass it up, if only for the bonus points. And of course, passing up the leader among friends is just more satisfying when there’s something physical to go along with it.

There are two awkward things about the game: the controls and death. There are three control schemes: tilting, tapping, or sliding to move, with tap areas to jump. None of them ever feel just right for controlling a giant rolling boulder of death. There’s always something keeping it from feeling comfortable. Also, death usually feels weird because the boulder keeps rolling after being hit, with the revival timer popping up. If the boulder actually exploded , and then players could come back from it, that would help make death feel more impactful rather than as an odd occurrence.

Giant Boulder of Death has a lot to love about it, though. It’s a free game with a rolling boulder that destroys things in its path. What’s not awesome about that?

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