We’re all familiar with the extraordinary turn-based game Star Hogs, launched earlier this summer to an unsuspecting public. Not only was the core game excellent, but the online multiplayer was really innovative stuff back then. As a result, IUGO became a developer we definitely needed to keep an eye on. The new project, Cliffed, isn’t anything turn-based, but it’s an interesting fusion of racing and platforming action that’s unique enough to potentially spawn a wave of imitators.
The appeal of Cliffed is rooted in its simplicity. Most clearly defined as a literal race to the bottom of the screen, you have to guide your character around a set of boulders and blocked paths to keep progressing. Sound easy? At first it is, but things ramp up quickly as the downward scroll of the level gets faster. When your character meets the top of the vertically oriented screen, you get “Cliffed,” thus ending the game.
Besides the fact that you never want to lose, there are perks for doing well. New characters are unlocked as the game keeps speeding up. In no time, you’ll be picking between random characters like teddy bears or purple blobs. It’s too bad that there isn’t any variation in the skills of these unlockable characters, but the cosmetic differences are cool.
Getting around is cake based on Cliffed’s wonderfully thought out controls. You only use two arrows, left and right, and double tapping on an arrow makes your character do a little dash. While you will not need to do much dashing early on, it definitely becomes a mandatory mechanic in faster stages.
Single player is great and all, but the online multiplayer here is the real deal. Expanding on the awesome execution IUGO put together for Star Hogs, there’s a competitive versus mode that puts you in the thick of four player action. The game ends one way or another based on getting to a certain depth first, or from “cliffing” your opposition. Basic stat tracking and online leaderboards are included, and most importantly, we didn’t run into any lag on both 3G and Wifi connections.
The main downside is the lack of variety on the graphical front. Yeah, there are a ton of unlockable character skins, but you’ll get bored from looking at the same backdrop and boulders after playing for a few hours. Maybe it’s not a huge deal, but we think it’s worth noting.
Kudos to the team at IUGO for churning out another solid game. Refreshing gameplay, simple mechanics, fast online connectivity, and custom soundtracks are just a few reasons why we’re impressed with this little game. The shortcomings in Cliffed are largely offset by one factor that matters the most to any self-respecting gamer: Fun!