I’ve been playing Don’t Run With A Plasma Sword recently. It’s been hard to put my finger on why it’s not entirely satisfactory, but I’ve got there: it’s a packet of Party Rings.
It’s unarguably a great name for a game. The sense of humour is carried through to the loading screens, where you’re given more advice of what not to do with a plasma sword: pick your nose, use it as a pointer in presentations – it’s good stuff. But it’s just the colourful sugary crust on the Party Ring, a one-note attempt to try to make a rather ordinary biscuit look exciting.
The game itself – the biscuit in the metaphor I am going to persevere with – is a perfectly serviceable auto-runner. There’s more to do than usual: jump, slide and attack with your plasma sword, all via virtual buttons. It works nicely enough, though the relative complexity means it always takes a couple of goes to get back on top of what’s required of you.
So why is it different to, say, Jetpack Joyride? Ah, because that’s a bag of Haribo Starmix. Whereas Don’t Run With A Plasma Sword is fairly uniform throughout, each mission in Jetpack Joyride is a different chewy little sweet, and you want to keep going until you’ve greedily devoured the whole damn bag.
There’s no particular attraction in going back to sniff the empty bag afterwards, but that doesn’t mean you won’t want a bag of Tangfastics before long.
Different again is Canabalt. I touched on it when I wrote about ZiGGURAT, that it’s a slow-burner, completely satisfying in short bursts. It was put better by Vertex Dispenser designer Michael Brough on Hookshot Inc., who described ZiGGURAT as “solid nourishment”.
Along those lines, I’d say Canabalt is a really good dark chocolate – from Hotel Chocolat, perhaps. Refined, a little bit classy, just a morsel or two is entirely satisfying – and you’ll come back for more later.
Alas, there’s not much in the way of dark chocolate out there in App Land. There’s a fair amount of Haribo, admittedly, but far too many Party Rings.