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Game essentials: Crossy Road

We take a closer look at the App Store’s must-play games.

Crossy Road

Endless Arcade Hopper

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This record-breaking endless hopper has been downloaded hundreds of millions of times. Not bad for a game developed in just 12 weeks – one that began with a chicken, a road and one of the world’s oldest jokes.

It’s no secret that developer Matt Hall was inspired by arcade classic Frogger. He gave it a change of perspective and invited artist Ben Weatherall to give it an appealingly chunky visual makeover.

Finally, by removing the other side from the equation, Crossy Road became the kind of game that could, in theory, last forever. And since the game’s launch in 2014, it has certainly showing no signs of stopping.

That’s partly because of its instant appeal. You simply tap to move forward or swipe to move sideways (and, on rare occasions, backwards) as you dodge traffic and other obstacles, trying to get as far as you can before you meet a slapstick demise.

Your instinct might be to wait until the path forward is clear, but you can’t afford to delay too long: if the auto-scrolling screen catches up with you, a screeching eagle will swoop down and snatch you up.

Even now, there’s nothing quite like the panic you feel when the logs and lilypads – your only way across the fast-flowing rivers – don’t quite align and you scramble back to shore.

You’ll still instinctively tense up at the warning bell of the approaching trains that barrel past at incredible speed. And it’s still exhilarating when you see a gap and go for it, a rapid succession of taps taking you through the narrowest of spaces to give you some breathing space.

The other secret of Crossy Road’s continued success is that it’s different every time. Boot it up today, and it’s much more than just farmyard favourites crossing a road.

On one run you’ll find yourself as a too-cool-for-school teenager, sighing “whatever” as she skips forward. Then suddenly you’ll find yourself whisked back in time as a tiny shrew, timidly hopping through rows of stampeding dinosaurs.

Next, you might head underwater as a skeletal pirate, dodging hammerheads and dolphins, before becoming an astronaut, exhaling nervously as asteroids hurtle by. Or how about playing as another classic arcade character? As Pac-Man, you’ll munch through trails of dots, while gobbling the occasional power-pill to turn the ghostly ‘traffic’ into food.

The same breathless fun but with added Pac-Man.

Oh, and we mustn’t forget the daily levels that challenge you to get a high score with a specific character – the further up the leaderboard you climb, the better your reward when the clock resets.

Sure, you’ll always eventually end up as roadkill – but no matter how often we get splatted, Crossy Road keeps us coming back for one more try.

    Crossy Road

    Endless Arcade Hopper

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