Halfbrick Studios is responsible for some of the most entertaining, just-one-more-go gaming experiences available. From the single swipes of Fruit Ninja to the one tap fun of Jetpack Joyride, the company has a knack for creating addictive experiences perfectly suited to the mobile platform.
Radical Rappelling is no different - taking one simple mechanic and then jumping up and down on it until it is pounded into exactly the shape they want.
A spring in your step
A single tap starts your character's descent down Radical Rappelling’s perilous cliff faces. Tied to the peak, you constantly jump against the sheer rock face, while holding the screen controls your downwards movement. It’s perfectly judged momentum and physics are instantly understandable, but the intricacy of the mountain makes chasing high-scores tantalizingly frustrating.
Your aim is to get as far down as possible. Along the way you progress through different environments. These begin with a snowy peak, but you soon pass through a rainbow valley, water, and even a section silhouetted against lava. With limited animation the 2D art does look stiff at first, but the different areas soon make your realize how much work has gone into Radical Rappelling’s look.
Every time you belay your way down the (probably) endless wall, the layout of the run is different. You see different overhangs, divots, and slides - providing a new topography. On your way, you have to aim for different items that boost your speed and charge your Radical Meter. Plus, to add a little danger, there are spikes that must be avoided and a river of lava that chases you down the mountain.
This constantly evolving challenge keeps you on your toes. One level may start with you easily able to zip through a handful of rings, hit targets, and bounce off springs to quickly charge your Radical Meter for a burst of invincibility. Then, the very next go could see you plunging headlong into a sea of spikes thanks to the world suddenly being stuffed full of obstacles. This uncertainty keeps you coming back, if only for the promise of a good run.
This forms a thrilling risk/reward. Holding on the screen as you zip down the line can result in a huge chain of tricks, or death, with very little warning. Depending on your momentum, you may be able to catch a rocket to further fire you down the mountain through a sea of coins. Missing this, however, may result in you smashing you way into a spiky death.
Collected coins allow you to buy rucksacks for your characters, which randomly drops items for them to wear – altering their in-game appearance. This creates some nice options for customization, but have no impact on gameplay. So, despite its prompts, purchases are never necessary.
One button fun
Radical Rappelling is another perfectly pitched single control game from Halfbrick. Plus, the grind to unlock aesthetic alterations for your character will keep you coming back happily, without ever feeling forced or punished for not paying.