Endless games are becoming the dusty old standard in the App Store. For an endless running/driving game to break through the motley mess of like minded games, it needs to bring something new to the table. It has to be unique, fun, and have a lot of charm to break the surface of the roiling mundanity that flows through a lot of the App Store. Does Armored Drive tread hard enough to keep it’s head afloat sucking at the rarified air, or does it just suck?
To understand Armored Drive means you have to understand the formula for the endless running/driving games. You're given one randomly generated level each time you tap "play" and your objective is to make it is far as you can snapping up coins, upgrades, tokens, and any other paraphernalia you can find along your journey. You get points along the way which you can then trade in for upgrades in an assortment of areas such as jetpacks, armor, or colored nests. A few games like Tiny Wings HD and Jetpack Joyride have changed up the gameplay formula by introducing some physics and a lot of extra charm. But there are a lot of games that stick with the original formula. Sadly, Armored Drive sticks with that formula so closely that it is barely distinguishable from its endless brethren.
The top down view and retro graphics are familiar and are less of an artistic statement than one of laziness. The graphics are ugly, boring, and are blurry enough to give your eyes a rest from the actual mundanity of them. The game might have done better using colored dots for the vehicles and a few clean lines for the road. It would have saved them even more time and money in development and provided us with something more enjoyable to look at.
The controls are functional at best. Instead of relying on tried and true touchscreen controls for maneuvering, the game uses the gyroscope to direct the back and forth motion of your jet powered car. It is quite unresponsive and you'd do better trying to bend your iPhone with you mind rather than getting your car around the abundant obstacles.
Armored Drive is a cheap game in many more ways than one. Occasionally on your best run, the game will throw at you a slalom of road blocks and expect you to make it past them. Without any weapons, the severely lacking control scheme leaves you with only one option; plowing into them and exploding into a fireball of frustration. The random groupings of cars and attack helicopters are also in on the action. Sometimes they'll arrange themselves in an array of impenetrable death out of which there is no escape. This seems a little bit unfair. Most other endless driving games give you a tiny escape route from even their most dastardly of randomly generated traps. But no, Armored Drive has to live up to its price tag.
The game also has an upgrade system and two weapon slots for you to spend your hard earned points on. There's a small array of weapons for you to choose from that can either be devastating or completely useless. You won't know which until you try them out. One weapon actually shoots sideways instead of out the front of your car. Game, this doesn't help me when one of your impenetrable barriers is fast approaching and I don't have enough control to make it through.
Armored Drive is simply boring. It is barely a game worth playing to waste a few minutes in line at the DMV. It will only crush you lower into a void of boredom. It is a game that we've seen dozens of times before and brings nothing new to the table. If it looked great, or was fun, or was at the very least creatively charming, then Armored Drive might be worth playing. But, as it stands you'd do better to run over your iPhone with your own armored car than to waste your time trying to figure out what all the weapons do.
App Store Link: Armored Drive for iPhone | By 4gency | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.07 | 21.6 MB | Rating 9+