Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Mixing gameplay straight from the two most popular one-touch endless games and the pure exhilaration of roller coasters, Chillingo has a winner on its hands with Madcoaster. Yes, it borrows heavily from both Tiny Wings and Jetpack Joyride, but in a way that should makes fans of those classics very happy and offer newcomers to the genre a great leaping off point.
Players guide a coaster full cotton-candy covered kids on a wild ride, leaping from track to track, collecting coins, taking out birds and animals on the rails and pulling loop-de-loops all with a single finger. The one-touch controls work perfectly; just tap to jump over any gaps in the track.
Players coast through progressively harder environments with specific objectives that add score multipliers when met. The first few happen almost by accident and get players hooked.
Replay value is inherent to games like this that urge players to go just one more round to get some added distance or shiny new coaster cars. The objectives also alter strategy, which helps stave off monotony. Madcoaster is a bit more forgiving than the others as players have three lives, and can earn or buy a fourth.
Madcoaster has several different settings which appear at random. The actual tracks and even the location of birds and critters seems fixed, however, and it's not hard to spot patterns. If the goal is to take out penguins or gorillas stay low, for example, or after a loop, be prepared to jump.
The levels are vibrant and full of action, but they get repetitive as they cycle. There are four additional backgrounds to unlock by hitting a distance milestone or via in-app purchase, and while these are also visually appealing they don't vary gameplay. Don't bother with the IAP's. I earned both the honest way in a few hours.
While the themes are lovely, some of them also pose a visual problem. When coasting on lower tracks oftentimes the scenery obscures the view. It's difficult to tell if the track has a break or it's just an iceberg or cloud in the way.
Also coins collected cannot be used for anything. It would be nice to see either coaster upgrades or adornments to spend them on. And the tracks would benefit from more twists and steeper plunges too.
With this nitpicking, one might assume I don't like Madcoaster, but the opposite is true. I absolutely adore roller coasters and endless games with simple controls are my favorite diversion; Madcoaster delivers both. But, what separates an instant classic from just another fun play and discard title is all in the details. I fervently hope Chillingo takes the some of the critical and user feedback and addresses the small stuff in an update so Madcoaster joins the ranks of the former.