Every now and then we come across games that perhaps take themselves a bit too seriously. Now more than ever – thanks to the wonderful technology and talent at our disposal – we’re seeing games with lifelike characters and compelling narratives, some of which even attempt to tackle wider, more sensitive issues.
Giant Boulder Of Death, if you haven’t already guessed, isn’t one of those thought-provoking “masterpieces”. Instead it’s a straight up, free-to-play mobile game featuring yodelling, yetis, and huge, murderous lumps of rock.
The game starts with a simple tap, rolling the titular boulder of death down an idyllic mountain valley. Your objective is simple: lay waste to everything in your path, rack up points, and avoid the game’s ever-growing array of deadly hazards.
Manoeuvring the boulder requires tilting left and right, allowing players to navigate freely and target certain points of interest. Aside from this, movement is fairly limited though by tapping you can trigger a little hop which can be used to negotiate small walls and fences.
The number of points awarded depends on which obstacles you roll into. Trees, for instance, offer tiny increments whereas buildings and special targets such as lumberjacks and yetis yield higher numbers.
Crush enough objects and you’ll temporarily turn into an Invinciboulder (yep), giving players the power to destroy anything they roll into, no matter the size or whether its veiled in a wall of spikes. Normally, cruising into such obstacles will slow your boulder or break it, prompting players to decide whether to revive it by sacrificing crystals.
Giant Boulder Of Death is all about getting that high score and climbing the leaderboards. However, that’s not the only way to approach it. Every time you complete a run, coins are awarded which can then be exchanged for upgrades. Also, by completing challenges (“destroy X buildings”, “revive X times in one run” etc.) you’ll unlock new objects and NPCs, gradually populating the mountainside with more fodder as you attempt to trump your personal best.
Lending itself to the apparent silliness is the game’s soundtrack and visual style. Every now and then a fit of yodelling will ring in your ears as chunks of debris, trees, cows, and other mountain-dwelling wildlife get tossed up in the air. The way these objects bounce and knock into eachother creates a slapstick dynamic which is both funny and satisfying.
As a free-to-play game there are a few ads crammed here and there as well as invitations to link your profile to Facebook. These are easily bypassed however and I never felt the need to fork out on micro-transactions which are actually fairly priced and fairly beneficial to dedicated players.
Giant Boulder Of Death is a zany, mindless slice of giggle-inducing fun. Like many games of its type, there isn’t much behind the core mechanics yet somehow it still proves addictive and is perfect for those five-minute bursts of play.