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Smartphone Apps Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Recommended

Joe Danger Touch review

£1.99

Manufacturer: Hello Games

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Evil Knievel in your pocket

After plenty of acclaim in console-land, this British-made tale of a motorbike-riding cartoon daredevil now makes the all-too-logical move to iPhone and iPad. 

Joe Danger Touch is a remarkably close reproduction of its two console forerunners visually-speaking, doing a bang-up job of capturing the Xbox 360 version's big, chunky, colourful, anachronistically Nintendo-like characters, parade of bloodless pratfalls and Looney Tunes backdrops.

Like its predecessors, it's a side-on '2.5d' game, which here moves closer to the 'auto-runner' genre made famous by the likes of Canabalt and Temple Run. The titular lantern-jawed hero rides a motorbike which relentlessly charges forward at top speed from the get-go, requiring you to execute a flurry of taps and swipes in order to avoid obstacles and collect goodies.

Get it right, and a level will be a graceful, dynamic spectacle of jumps, loops and ducks. Get it wrong and it's a cavalcade of crunchy collisions and dirt-eating. Somehow, Joe looks cheerful throughout - and it's that intrinsic good nature of the game which generally ensures you'll be compelled to have another crack even at the more brutally exacting levels.

A combination of intuitive learning and good reflexes will get you most of the way most of the time, but bagging all the coins and bonuses en route is a far taller order. This is a game which will be equally magnetic to both casual players and the more experienced, highscore-crazed types.

While it absolutely looks the part, a certain tactility is lost in Joe Danger's move to touchscreens, so there is a mildly distracting disconnect between player and rider. There is little-to-no sense that you're controlling or responding to the bike's roaring engine as you tap away at the screen and the thing near-magically hunches and leaps as a result, but at the same time this seems a smarter way of making the game work than an on-screen virtual gamepad would have been.

Joe Danger Touch

There isn't a perfect solution for this sort of thing - yet, at least - but Joe Danger seems smartly aware of touchscreens' shortcomings even if it does have to compromise as a result.

Perhaps more problematic is that the game is partly (and optionally) focused on leaderboards and high-scores, but it's a tall order to achieve an even faintly meaningful placing here. To do that, you'll either need to grind away at unlocking the game's last, score-multiplaying playable character, or indulge in the incongruously cynical in-app payments to insta-buy a load of coins to shortcut your way to him.

Thus, those who pay most will wind up on the leaderboards that much more easily - even if that score-boosting character can be unlocked from perseverance alone, there's a creepy sense that it isn't a level playing field.

Indeed, Joe Danger seems awkwardly undecided about whether it's a 'premium' game or an IAP-bolstered free-to-play one, and the £1.99 middleground it's picked seems somewhat at odds with both its high quality and its ever-smiling nature. Our advice would be to try and put the leaderboard stuff out of your mind and just enjoy what's otherwise plenty of superbly polished, console-quality game for a minor price.

Joe Danger Touch Expert Verdict »

Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Looks lovely and has a fantastic immediacy. The in-app payments sour the otherwise gleeful tone a little, but that aside Joe Danger Touch is one of the best console to iPhone transitions to date.

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