Endless Runners. Every second game on iOS and Android these days revolves around the concept. You play a random character that you don’t really have control over as they run across a play field covered in obstacles, with the only aim being to set as high a score as possible. Many have tried and failed to capture the same dizzy heights of a Temple Run or Jetpack Joyride and the like, but few meddle with the basic mechanics. Going into Faily Brakes, by Queensland’s Spunge Games, I was kinda expecting the same thing. What I got, to my delight, was something completely different.
Yes, from the outside Faily Brakes seems like the same standard fare. You’re driving along when suddenly you realise that your brakes no longer seem to exist and you’re left scraeming, your car careening down a hillside with trees, trains and rocks awaiting your arrival. The aim is, of course, to set the highest score by dodging it all as long as possible, but getting there is the key to Faily Brakes successful concept.
It’s one thing moving sideways, maybe jumping or shooting on occasion, but it’s an entirely different experience when you’re doing your utmost to determine how light or heavy you push left or right in order to not only dodge what’s coming straight towards you, but also to judge how much of a powerslide your out of control car might take if you push too hard. Push a little too much to your left, and the car’s backside will clip a tree and send your driver head first into an oncoming tree. Press too lightly, and you’ll find yourself at the mercy of a rock that really doesn’t care what you think.
I honestly enjoyed the added difficulty, that extra level of strategy instead of just blindly tapping back and forth until you can’t keep up with the increased speed. It helps that the world on show is well built and colourful as to not be boring after the twentieth attempt at getting past the damn train tracks. It also helps that when you eventually come to a halt and your driver goes flying forward, you not only get a bonus score added to your total depending on how far he falls, but you also get some amusing rag doll moments as he’s collected by the environment.
In fact, at one point my driver (who I wish I had the chance to dress up or alter in some way, just for a laugh) found himself flying headlong into a tree and landing painfully dick first against its branches before coming to a rest upside down. In a way, it dampens the anger of a failed run as you come agonisingly close to your high score. Well … a little. It’s not the first game that I’ve closed quickly in frustration as what looked like a fantastic result turns into absolute horror within seconds.
I do have a few minor quibbles. I can understand Spunge Games‘ need to have a payment method of some form, and it’s rather respectable of them to have the remove ads option connected to simply buying one of their car skins for less than $2 instead of just a ‘remove ads’ button. But until you do that, the ads themselves are as annoying as ever, appearing randomly after a run or two and sometimes sitting there for a few seconds until you’re able to skip past them. Like I said, that’s a minor gripe and it’s not the last app to include such a feature. I just wish the ads weren’t as … intrusive.
My only concern game wise comes from when you’re crossing through traffic. Unlike the train tracks, where you clearly know which side of the tunnel a train comes out from and given ample time to avoid it, there isn’t such an obvious pointer when crossing roads. Unless you can see them coming, I found myself spun out a few times from sudden car attack, even though it seemed like I had an empty freeway by the time I got there. It’s a little hard to explain in words, but I’m sure the devs know what I’m talking about. It didn’t happen too often, but maybe include a traffic light or something similar to warn you?
That aside, Faily Brakes has that right kind of chemistry to it, easy to pick up and play but hard to master. The added dose of humour and a lack of ‘you must buy all these things or else’ helps its cause, though for once I’d be keen to spend a few dollars pimping out my ride or my driver. Maybe that’s just me. Either way, Faily Brakes comes highly recommended and it’s free to download right now on iOS so go give it a shot. If you have, let us know what you think in the comments below.
Mark Isaacson is a freelance writer who’s glad games exist so he doesn’t have to go through a real life no breaks situation.