This Could Hurt
Good luck completing these tricky obstacle courses. Word of warning: the Oakguard apprentice's life depends on it.
With This Could Hurt, Chillingo and Orange Agenda set out to create a running game with a twist. Instead of using 2D, like most titles in this sub-genre, both parties went with 3D. More importantly, the developers chose to give users a different level of control over the hero, which is somewhat of a departure from apps that let players jump and, well, jump some more.
To that end, each of the game's 40 stages task you with helping the young boy go from point A to point B as safely as possible by simply pressing and holding the iPhone or iPad screen to make him stop. This proves crucial to success, as levels contain a variety of hazards, including spinning saw blades, ice, lava, mallets, piranhas and retractable spikes. The little guy has a health bar that lets him absorb a few hits, but falling into a bottomless pit automatically ends the game, forcing you to restart the board from the beginning.
As expected, it's all in the timing. There's more to This Could Hurt than simply tapping the screen. You must study the environments and pause to see what's next, paying close attention to how many seconds spikes remain visible while setting the hero in motion at the best possible moment, preferably to a floating platform right as it reaches the edge of a cliff, or up a ladder, paying close attention to avoid those aforementioned blades. Meanwhile, various power-ups give you an edge, from shields that protect the character from harm to speed boosts and health refills. You'll need acorns, the game's currency, to buy them all, but you should no have little trouble amassing these over time. If you can't wait, there's always in-app purchases to buy more.
Is the game fun? Definitely. Although you can't always control the boy's speed, there's always the desire to finish levels as quickly and with as little damage as possible.
That said, we came away from this game wanting a bit more. Upon seeing the title, we were hoping for a little gore or some cartoon shenanigans where various objects would slice and crush the boy for comic effect, but This Could Hurt feels G-rated. What's more, the story is largely forgettable, and it remains to be seen whether this shallow tale about the boy training to protect an oak tree was intentionally made lifeless or was supposed to be something taken seriously.
While light on narrative, This Could Hurt comes with an abundance of 3D platforming goodness that'll challenge players of all skill levels. And with just four worlds to explore, it should evolve over time as the developers figure out new ways to drive us nuts. Worth checking out.
Review code provided by Chillingo.
What's Hot: Puts a new spin on the running sub genre, 40 increasingly difficult stages, doing our best to complete levels without taking damage, helpful power-ups.
What's Not: Forgettable plot, no way to manipulate the camera, could use some gore.