Pretty much everywhere you look these days there’s seemingly no end to the plethora of Crossy Road (our review) knockoff games to be avoided, and yet you’d be wrong to assume that Out of Brakes (out now, free) is just another one of those rushed hack-jobs. Sure it does feature a three-dimensionally cubist inspired art-style, and furthermore contains a profoundly similar monetization scheme, but the similarities otherwise more or less end there. Here — rather than endlessly crossing roads and rivers, running down a glitched out maze, or even shooting away at infinite foes — you’re challenged instead to drive down an unending race track.

screen480x480True to the premise put forward by Out of Brakes’ name, your blocky car — for reasons never really explored — begins without the ability to deliberately slow itself down anymore. The only options you’ll have is to steer your car left by holding down on your screen’s left-hand side, and to alternatively steer your car to the right by holding down on the screen’s other end. While your vehicle’s steering is thankfully still functioning, one must wonder why exactly your suicidally lead-footed driver can’t just left off the gas-pedal and coast safely to a stop (but perhaps you’re actually stuck inside of Speed 3).

Naturally avoiding the dangerous red barriers — which cause your car to explode upon any sort of impact — will get trickier the longer you stay alive, since you’re always picking up speed the longer you go. You can — however — slightly alleviate this non-stop acceleration by plowing your car through the otherwise perfectly safe blue barriers, which the game would otherwise insist are actually water barrels. The final obstacle-type in Out of Brakes are deadly oil spills, which — upon impact — leave your car’s controls inoperable until after you’ve first completed a full 360-degree spin (during which time you might also crash).

While this provides for some admittedly simplistic — yet actually quite challenging — game play, rest assured that there’s a bit more to Out of Brakes than merely avoiding obstacles endlessly (or even setting new high scores in either top speed, or total distance traveled). At random points trophies will appear on the track, and these basically serve a similar purpose to the coins scattered about the various games worked on by Hipster Whale’s creative staff. However unlike in Hipster Whales’ games — such as Crossy Road, or Pac-Man 256 (our review) — where each pick up is always worth precisely one coin, here each trophy — so long as your never miss any — is always worth one more than the previous one.

screen480x480 (1)Once you’ve gathered 100 trophies you’ll be able to — much like Crossy Road before it — purchase a chance at receiving a new vehicle to drive around (although none of these cars seem to change things up quite as much as Crossy Road’s alternate characters ever did). Rather than simply being rote assigned your new car, you’ll instead be presented with a long list of packages — scrolling off towards both the left and right — and asked to choose from one of them. If you’re lucky you’ll afterwards obtain a new car that you don’t yet have, however — if you’re not so lucky — you’ll instead obtain a duplicate without any refund on your now wasted trophies.

Alternatively — much like Crossy Road before it — you can also obtain additional trophies by electively watching ads whenever they’re offered, or even by collecting free gifts when the countdown timer finishes cooling off. Whereas the bulk of all coins in Crossy Road ended up being earned via these latter two methods, I really appreciated the fact that Out of Brakes allows players whom drive skillfully to earn trophies much quicker. This gave the feeling that your performances in Out of Brakes mattered far more than in Crossy Road, since skillful playing will greatly expedite your currency acquisition rate (rather than it largely being driven just by how many ads you’re willing to slog through).

However — if waiting isn’t really to your preference — then you may even purchase specific vehicles for $0.99 each, but doing so is purely optional (and otherwise has no real effect on your game play). Whereas this part of Out of Brakes — the entire monetization scheme — may have been lifted nearly 100% wholesale from every Hipster Whale project ever, I’m perfectly okay with that. I would far prefer that developers imitate a highly-successful non-exploitative monetization scheme such as this, rather than have them scramble over each other to make yet another Rule the Kingdom (our review).

screen480x480 (2)Anyways — although I’ve thus far covered both the relevant game play and monetization schemes — I’ve actually yet to talk about my favorite part of Out of Brakes, which would have to be what happens every single time you crash into anything. Whether it’s a so-called water barrel that you’re smashing into — or your car exploding upon impact against a red barrier — every collision, as the blocks violently scatter, uses real-time physics. Ultimately this ensures that every crash you make results in an utterly new explosion of various colored blocks to watch, no two of which will ever be identical (sometimes even involving multiple Fisher Price Little People flying about, such as when using the bus).

All in all — while certainly not the most in-depth game ever designed — Out of Brakes is still an utterly free experience, featuring entertaining game play, that furthermore contains no exploitative IAPs whatsoever.

Verdict

Rather than being yet another rote shameless knock-off of Hipster Whale’s highly lauded Crossy Road, Out of Brakes is — other than the borrowed monetization scheme — an original game of endless randomized obstacle dodging. While the game play itself is somewhat simplistic, yet still admittedly engaging, the real-time physics for every single crash — whether it be you smashing through a blue barrier, or your own car violently exploding — are generally always interesting to watch. The game furthermore contains no exploitatively designed IAPs whatsoever, with players given the option to instantly purchase any car for $0.99 — all off which can also be earned in-game for free — yet may never purchase any victory-based supplements.

Endless free obstacle-dodging game with cubist-artwork and no exploitative IAPs
The game play is admittedly simplistic and repetitive
4.0
Smashing!