I mentioned in another review that racing games weren’t really my thing, but that I do love arcade racing games. Of those, my all time favorite stands out as Bump ‘n Jump. I loved running people off the road or into obstacles, while jumping over and around obstacles and landing on cars, crushing them and driving off unharmed. It was great! I’m still waiting for it to make it’s iOS debut (I’m looking at you, Majesco!)
Until that glorious day, though, we’ve got Road Hog. Road Hog is a 3rd person overhead racer, where you drive around obstacles while trying to pick up stars and power-up cubes. There are several different power-up cubes; a health cube that gives you one heart, an invincibility cube, a weapon cube that allows you to shoot an oncoming obstacle and a freeze cube that slows things down allowing you to move around obstacles easier. There’s also a mystery cube that will give you a random effect, including one of those good effects above or a couple of negative effects like flickering the lights or reversing the controls for a few seconds.
And then there’s the jumping because you CAN jump. However, you don’t jump very high or far. I found out the hard way that there are only a couple of obstacles that you can actually jump over – if you try to jump over most obstacles you will instead jump right into them. Instead, jumping is mostly used to pick up stars or power-up cubes that are floating in mid-air. To make matters worse, to jump you need to touch the screen. However, to move your car you also need to touch the screen. As such, if you take your finger off the screen for a second and then touch the screen to move, you may jump into an obstacle instead of moving around it as you intended. As such it might be better to have an actual jump button.
However, this one issue aside, the controls are very tight. Just touch the screen and move your finger around to move your car around obstacles. The button to activate the cube abilities is on the top left, meaning that, if you’re holding your iPhone in your left hand the button is a perfect fit for your thumb.
As a bonus, in addition to keeping track of local scores and being able to post your scores to your Facebook account, Road Hog also has its own international leaderboard, keeping track of the top 100 players. Don’t expect to see me on the list. It’ll take me a few more weeks of playing before I get to those vaulted levels.
And lastly, the graphics look great on the Retina Display, running smooth and looking crisp. There is one problem in that, thanks to the color scheme and lighting, some of the obstacles are hard to see, meaning it can be hard to get around them.
All told, Road Hog is no Bump ‘n Jump, but, despite its flaws, it still manages tight controls and crisp graphics, with gameplay that is smooth and easy. If you’re still not sure it’s worth a buck, give the free version a spin. If nothing else, I think you’ll agree it’ll help bide the time until those Data East classics finally find a home on the iDevices.