NOTE: In the name of fairness I should probably point out the entire launcher genre of games is one I have very little personal experience with, as such anything I say here should likely be taken with a grain of salt.

Kaiho’s recent Jungle Crash! (out now, free) tasks players with seeing just how far they can launch Dinok, while aiming to further keep him in the air via the help of his two avian friends. It all begins when Dinok — a perpetually hungry dinosaur — spies what he believes to be some hanging fruit, but in reality was merely a convincing lure poised by a rather crafty carnivorous plant. Dinok — not one to go down easily — immediately chomps violently down on the plant’s exposed innards, causing Dinok to be violently launched forward into the wild blue yonder.

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Jungle Crash’s controls simply with the player tapping once to select the plant’s initial launching angle — during which it will rock back and forth — and then once more to determine the plant’s projectile power, selected from a power bar moving back and forth. From hereon Dinok will be soaring majestically through the sky — or perhaps just haphazardly — and will earn a number of berries when his trip finally ends, with more obtained during his longer voyages. Now although players’ first few trips might seem abysmally short, players will quickly come to discover that Dinok’s two friends — whom are controlled via swiping — can play vital roles in affecting his overall flight time.

Swiping upwards at an angle — which can initially be done only once per flight attempt — will cause one of Dinok’s two bird friends to smash into him from below, rocketing him back upwards. It’s worth mentioning how this maneuver can only be performed when Dinok is currently below the level’s cloud line, meaning you can’t ever use this to somehow force Dinok into outer space itself. By contrast you can use his other birdie friend to slam him towards the ground by swiping downwards, and this friend of his can even be invoked repeatedly so long as you first let a nominal countdown clock clear out.

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Now while most players will immediately see how Dinok’s upwards aiming friend can be quite useful, it’s perhaps not immediately clear how his downwardly directed — and just as equally powerful — ally is anything you’d normally ever wish to willfully deploy. However, things become far clearer when you realize that a slew of various critters — some of whom can actually be immensely helpful — randomly litter the floor of every flight attempt. Since you only ever get to use one upwards bird strike per run — at least until you purchase some berry-fueled upgrades — these critters will be vital to keeping you airborne, with downwards strikes the only way to ensure where you land.

Additionally — beyond forcing you to strike something on purpose — hitting yourself with a downwards strike will also speed you up, which can be extremely vital just before hitting most of these land-critters (meaning you’ll be airborne much longer afterwards). Furthermore, beyond hitting most of these creatures generally being useful — other than a few that are actually carnivorous — some of these life forms will be also supercharged at times. Successfully tapping the screen as you approach one of these powered-up critters will massively launch you into the air, often leaving you staring at little more than the rushing scenery as Dinok spends some serious flight-time well beyond the clouds.

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Finally — although I never managed to pull it off beyond the tutorial itself — there’s even mega-moves, which can be activated if you ever slam into a powered-up creature while wearing a defensive bubble. These defensive bubbles are earned whenever Dinok slams into a very specific plant-creature, and afterwards are lost whenever he touches the very next critter (whether or not they were special at the time). While it might be a rare opportunity for a player to ever pull off one of these mega-boosts, it’s a least nice that these defensive bubbles can protect you from accidentally being eaten a single time.

Anyways, once a run has eventually ended — which will eventually happen every single time — you’ll afterwards find yourself rewarded with a number of berries equal to how long you stayed aloft. You might only manage to rake in a meager four berries during a single run, or — as I once managed to successfully pull off — you might even earn a massive horde of berries well in excess of 200. These berries can then be spent to upgrade things such as how quickly your downward-bird cools off, how many upward strikes you’re allowed, how powerful the initial flower-launcher is, and so much more.

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Admittedly most of these upgrades cost massive amounts of berries, such that you’d have to grind for extremely long periods of time to afford even a single upgrade (unless you were to stock up on berries via IAPs). Worse yet, the game features an energy system — recharging at a rate of once every fifteen minutes — that only lets you play for five full runs before you’re locked out from any further grinding. While that might initially sound rather bad, it’s worth pointing out how someone can permanently bypass this with a one-time infinite-lives upgrade option made available for just $2.99 (which itself seems fair).

Ultimately Jungle Crash! is a colorful and well-controlling game, with an admittedly fair infinite-life unlock price, that generally seems to be a competently made product all around. My only complaint is that there’s really not much to the app, especially since you can spend long chunks of time not doing anything whatsoever when you manage to nail a couple of powered-up critters in a row. The spectacle itself was certainly fun to watch, but I question just how much long-term replayability Jungle Crash! actually has (although I do urge you to remember this thought comes from a non-genre enthusiast).

Verdict

Jungle Crash! is a colorful and competently built game from Kaiho, that is initially offered for free upfront (although this does come with an energy-system limiting you to just five shots in a row, which is thankfully bypassable via a one-time fee of just $2.99). Although the game is certainly quite the spectacle to watch — and skill is involved in aiming to ensure Dinok constantly hits critters that’ll boost him back up — this doesn’t change the fact there’s sometimes very little to do, especially when flying super high up. All of this left me feeling the app was simultaneously quite well made, yet also wondering just how much long-term replayability Jungle Crash! truly had as well (keep in mind this thought is coming from a non-enthusiast of the launcher genre of games).

'Jungle Crash' Review: Puts the Soar in Dinosaur
Colorful graphicsSolid controlsFairly priced infinite-life upgrade cost
Sometimes contains long bouts of doing nothingDebatable long-term value
3.5Very Good