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Wipeout review (iOS / Universal)

September 2, 2012

“Ha ha ha ha ha … Wipeout!”

10 word description: Obstacle course time-trial challenges based on TV show. Game Center.

10 word review: Silly, fun, addictive, great looking, and a brilliant control system.

You will like this if you enjoy: Obstacle course platform games. The TV show Wipeout (US), or Total Wipeout (UK) – although prepare to be disappointed if you’re on the UK app store (for now, at least).

The good news: It’s a heck of a lot of fun, way more than I expected. Graphics are very good, and proper 3D despite the mostly 2D gameplay view. Obstacles and courses, as well as being very true to the TV show, are excellent videogame components, fun, challenging and very well implemented. The no-buttons control system is fantastic, works well and completely suits the game. Failing dismally will still earn you points/cash to put towards unlocking new characters and courses. Once unlocked, each set of courses can be played in time trial mode, even if you haven’t reached/beaten them in tournament (game show) mode. Replays are fun but can easily be skipped if you’re in a rush.

The bad news: At the time of writing, this game is not available on the UK app store and possibly also not on others. This is a shame, as it’s a great game and the tie-in to (Total) Wipeout would be sure to pull in a lot of UK fans. There are no commentators and, yes, I know they could end up being irritating, but it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. Still, at least there’s no Richard Hammond in this game. If you’re not familiar with the name you will have to look him up. On second thoughts, don’t bother.

Arcadelife verdict: I can’t believe how good this has turned out to be! It could have been shockingly bad or just plain mediocre, with appalling controls, but it’s easily one of the best iOS games I’ve played for quite a while. I’m not a big fan of the TV show, although my 4 year old son enjoys it, but I have seen enough of it to realise how much effort has gone into making a game that not only looks like the obstacle courses in the show but nails the whole “laughing at overconfident competitors who fall off every obstacle” theme.

It’s a very clever trick to pull off, because the overconfident competitor that you’re laughing at is yourself, but the inventiveness of the obstacles and the amusing ragdoll-and-grunting of the falls makes your own disastrous duckings a fairly constant source of amusement. The cash that you get for every face-plant, rear-end, eek, oof and gut-buster does a lot to soften the blows too!

He’s a smug little knob – I can’t wait to see him repeatedly bounced into the water

Special mention has to go to the control system. It would have been so easy for them to just bolt on some predictable big round buttons and a virtual d-pad but the ‘slide and tap’ controls in Wipeout are easy to use, reliable, and invisible. Well done!

Yeah, this should do it …

Overall, Wipeout is a great game that doesn’t require any knowledge (or even appreciation) of the related TV shows. The unlockable characters and courses add a ton of replay value, as do the escalating challenge levels of each set of courses plus the separate star-rated time trials. Despite the focus on disastrous dismounts it feels very fair; even the notorious Big Red Balls are considerably less intimidating than their real life counterparts, thanks mostly to the insane bouncing abilities of the virtual contestants.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9.5/10
Audio – 8.5/10
Controls – 9.5/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 90/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.0
iTunes link

Wipeout Mobile on Facebook website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 5.1.1)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)

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