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Danger Boat Review

Posted by Carter Dotson on March 15th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Playtime: Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar


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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Disc Drivin' Update Adds New Levels, New Theme, App Badges, and iPad Retina Display Support

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 6th, 2012

Don't quit with the Disc Drivin'! While developer Pixelocity Software works on the upcoming Zombie Track Meat with Fuzzycube Software and Owen Goss (coming to iOS later this year, now available for Google Chrome), they've given their venerable turn-based racing game a fresh update. The game has five new ice-based tracks that implement new elements like ice blocks that deteriorate as they are hit, and snowballs that slow discs down. The new levels also introduce the first new visual theme to the game since its release back in late 2010. On the technical end, the game now supports the iPad Retina Display. Grow tired of not having the app badge update when new turns come in? Well, that's now enabled in this update, which is available now for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad.

These new tracks and features should help to extend the life of this venerable game, which is one of the few titles that I still play on a regular basis, and have done so ever since the game came out. Plus, Jon Hamm plays it, which automatically means those who play it become classier, funnier, and more handsome by association.

Disc Drivin' HD Review

Posted by Carter Dotson on March 22nd, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Developer: Pixelocity Software
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 1G

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar


Disc Drivin' has made its long awaited appearance on the iPad, in the aptly-named Disc Drivin' HD. This is the same game as in the iPhone/iPod touch version, cross-compatible with your current Disc Drivin' account and games. It comes with a spiffy new splash screen by Mike Berg of We Heart Games, and a redesigned iPad-friendly interface. If you haven't played the game yet (and I hope that's only because you never read the original review, or only have an iPad and don't use any non-iPad apps at all, no exceptions), then understand that the game is an asynchronous multiplayer racing game, where you and up to 7 local or 3 online opponents take turns racing around a track, with the first to complete 3 laps to be the winner. You swipe your disc around the track, amassing energy to activate your powerups, while trying to stay on the track and keep your opponents from passing you up.

The same great gameplay of the iPhone/iPod touch is represented here, with controls that work comfortably on the iPad, and larger buttons for activating powerups. Disc Drivin' HD's greatest strength may just be the way that the game works across multiple platforms. Unlike something like Words With Friends, which has long had issues with push notifications and playing games across multiple platforms, Disc Drivin' HD sends push notifications to any and all devices you're logged in from, and quickly reloads your game list when you open the app back up. It's easy, seamless, and allows you to play the game on any iOS device without any worries, even with local wireless play between devices.

The game is a separate app from the iPhone/iPod touch version and not a universal update, though the iPad version is feature-identical to the original. This was done, according to the developers, to leave their options open in case they do decide to launch iPad-exclusive features. So, if you want to play the iPad version, you will have to pay for it, and there's no free version yet either. The game still hasn't really expanded on content or features since the original came out - I'd at least love a couple new courses or for the long-awaited video sharing function to finally surface.

Disc Drivin' is just as addictive as when it first came out. Even months later, I still find myself regularly playing and checking for moves, so the game's lasting appeal cannot be questioned. If you're an iPad owner and haven't played the game yet, then you must play this now. If you own multiple iOS devices, then it's just a question of if you really feel the need to pay for an iPad-compatible version. If you do double-dip, you'll be happy with the purchase. If you haven't partaken in Disc Drivin' addiction yet, then what are you waiting for?

Disc Drivin' Review

Posted by Carter Dotson on January 10th, 2011

Developer: Pixelocity Software
Price: $2.99 (Free Version Available)
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4G

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar


Disc Drivin' is a game whose immediate goal might not be apparent; the easiest way to explain the game is that it is like Mario Kart crossed with Words With Friends. You and your opponents take turns sliding your disc across the tracks, replete with tricky turns, turbo boosts, and powerup icons. The Words with Friends-esque element comes from the turn-based gameplay; when you take your turn, your opponent then takes theirs, and so on until someone completes 3 laps and wins the race. The game supports up to 8 players in either hotseat or local wifi multiplayer, and up to 4 people online, with push notifications notifying you when it is your turn.

There's a reason why I describe this as being similar to Words With Friends in particular, and it is because Disc Drivin' is just as addictive and viral as that game was around its popularity peak. If you start up one game, you'll quickly find yourself wanting to start up more and more, and anxiously waiting for your opponents to make their moves so you can play some more. The physics engine with the discs adds to the fun, as wacky things can happen when you hit ramps, bombs or other discs; there is plenty that can happen when discs go flying to cause you to shout for joy or shriek in error. You never know what you'll see next. That, and just the whole addictive and surprisingly fast-paced nature of the asynchronous multiplayer, is what makes this one a gem.

While Disc Drivin' provides a lot of courses, many of them don't do a lot to distinguish themselves from one another, particularly the courses with a lot of twists and turns that tend to blend together. As well, the games in these courses can take a while to play as the pace of the game starts to slow around curves. The game comes in free and paid versions, and the free version suffers from some bugs with the ads that are displayed between turns; in particular, errors tend to happen if you get a push notification while an app are displayed. Also, the game can be very unfriendly to new players; some form of tutorial to explain the game's functions would help out a lot. As well, player discovery is limited to searching email contacts or manual username search; Game Center matchmaking would be a huge help for player discovery. The game supports the Retina Display, but iPad support would be much appreciated as well.

Beyond these flaws, though, Disc Drivin' is easily one of the most addictive games I have ever played on iOS. it has me constantly checking my iPod touch for new moves, and wishing I could have more than the maximum 20 games at once. This is an absolute must-download. Check out the free version first, then pick up the $2.99 ad-free version.

UPDATE: Since the original review, both the free and paid version have been updated to 1.2, helping to iron out glitches mentioned in the original review, as well as adding functionality for one-click rematches, a recent player list, and random player matchmaking. AS well, the developers have mentioned exploring other features, such as video sharing, Game Center, and new courses, that may come at some point in the future.

The Portable Podcast, Episode 65

Posted by Carter Dotson on January 4th, 2010

Driven to madness!

On This Episode:

  • Carter speaks with the developers of Disc Drivin', Michael and Tommy Bean of Pixelocity Software, talking about the inspiration for the game and what we can expect from the game in the near future.
  • Carter and Colin Walsh of Celsius Game Studios discuss his new game Red Nova, and some of the recent happenings with major price drops by large-scale publishers like EA.
  • Who We Are:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Guests: Michael Bean and Tommy Bean, Pixelocity Software
  • Guest: Colin Walsh, Celsius Game Studios

  • Music:

  • "Beatnes7 (Theme to The Portable Podcast)" by The Eternal - Download on iTunes here:

  • "Nanocarp" by The Eternal
  • How to Listen:

  • Click Here to Subscribe in iTunes:
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  • Listen on WRGT Radio every Friday at 4pm Central
  • Listen Here: [powerpress]
  • Apps Mentioned On This Episode: