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Joe Danger was a pleasant surprise when it premiered on the PlayStation 3 back in 2010, mixing challenging vehicular platforming with the oh-so-addictive pursuit of the highest score. Since then, the cartoonish motorcycle stuntman has received a sequel and special edition on the Xbox 360. But the series' latest iteration and first on iOS, Joe Danger Touch, manages to ride wheel-to-wheel with its console predecessors, creating a new experience ideally suited for the platform.
At its core, Joe Danger Touch is an auto-runner platform game. Gone are the acceleration controls of the console experience, replaced instead with taps and swipes to lead Joe through 50 increasingly difficult, obstacle-laden tracks. But despite the obvious challenges inherent in handing off the controller, Hello Games has done a remarkable job of utilizing the touch screen to make the transition seamless. The intuitive controls and gorgeous visuals of Joe Danger Touch are competent enough to make you forget you're playing on an iOS device at all.
That's no small task, obviously. Where other console-to-mobile ports like Grand Theft Auto III cause frustration with virtual d-pads and buttons, Hello Games has taken advantage of what makes the iOS platform special: simplicity. You'll easily tap to make Joe jump or clear an obstacle, or swipe to perform a trick. The controls are almost always flawless. Unfortunately, one side effect of mixing the tap-to-jump and tap-various-obstacles mechanics is errant input. Occasionally, Joe Danger Touch mistakes a jump press as hitting a floating coin, and back to the start of the level you go after watching the stuntman fall in a shark tank.
While the initial few rounds of tracks are a bit too easy, later stages offer some real challenge. Running the same course for the umpteenth time, trying to collect every coin, you'll realize similarities to other great platform games. Most notably: light-hearted artwork belying a reward for the brutal pursuit of perfection.
The bottom line. Joe Danger Touch is a bright, addictive platform game that should serve as required playing for any developer interested in moving a console favorite to the App Store.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Top-notch, truly console-like experience. Leaderboards and unlockable items will keep you coming back. Beautifully rendered cartoon environments.
Early missions too easy. Screen taps occasionally register incorrectly.