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The endless runner genre has been particularly well-plumbed on Apple's devices. Some of the App Store’s best-selling games are not only endless runners, but sequels, spin-offs, and imitators of existing genre entries. This environment leaves very little room for plucky upstarts like Danger Boat, as it accents similarities and demands innovative differences for a title to really stand out.
Danger Boat is, at its core, very much like others in the genre. From an overhead perspective, you'll use tightly responsive tilt controls on your iPhone or iPad to steer past obstacles such as missiles, rocks, and depth charges, though we found the tilt mechanic more manageable on the iPhone than iPad. All the while, the boat collects coins to purchase better power-ups and cosmetic items while it racks up a score based on distance, coins, and powers.
Despite the familiarity, though, the game does manage to carry a few of its own wrinkles. Power-ups are granted by weaving in and out of buoys in a slalom pattern, and missing even one resets the counter towards earning a power. Occasional waves will also crash against your boat, and riding them out grants a little score bonus even as they push you towards hazards. The power-ups are on the pricey side without the coin doubler item (sold for $2.99 within), however, which makes the feeling of progression haltingly slow for those who want to play for free. Danger Boat also has a habit towards overly aggressive scenarios, with enemies firing a missile just as you weave between rocks or up a ramp, thus dooming you to failure with no chance of survival.
Danger Boat’s biggest hazard, though – bigger than ill-timed missiles or rocks, or even its coin-earning imbalance – is the ample App Store competition. The game is breezy and fun to play for a few minutes at a time, and its small touches make it a more active experience than that of many of its compatriots. But these open waters are tricky to navigate, and novel as some of Danger Boat's ideas might be, none of them seem primed to usher in the genre’s next wave.
The bottom line. Danger Boat enters an overcrowded genre with a few novel ideas, but some speed bumps prevent it from racing past the competition.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Responsive tilt controls (particularly on iPhone). Wave riding and slalom-like buoys for power-ups make for creative twists.
Coins are few and far between, making saving for power-ups impractical without expending real money. Hazards tend to be overly aggressive.