Skipping Stone is more addictive and less frustrating than the real thing
Skipping Stone is the latest in Gamevil’s line-up of nefariously addictive games. It may also be the first title within the company’s stable to feature an anthropomorphic stone. That’s right. Not only does the titular character have an expressive face, it also sports arms and a skeletal structure: something I found both strangely adorable and rather disturbing. Unusual protagonist aside, the basic conceit here is simple: get the stone as far as it can go.
While art often imitates life, the same cannot be said here. Stone-skipping, while a prevalent past time, can be a bit of a fine art in real life; Wikipedia claims that the world record is 51 skips. Skipping Stone’s universal score board, however, claims that the highest total of skips ever was 371. The discrepancy here, of course, is directly linked to the fact that Skipping Stone has absurdly easy controls: tap the screen when your stone is directly in this white outline that is of roughly the same shape. That’s it. Skipping Stone is a monosyllabic version of Dance Dance Revolution. Everything revolves around your ability to tap the screen the instant the stone enters that outline. That box with a question mark on it that pops up randomly? You automatically activate it with a successful skip. Everything else? Er, I’m certain it would also be tied to your ability to precisely thumb your phone but as it stands, that’s the extent of the gameplay.
There are no worlds. There are no stages. There are no enemies, no actual sense of progression. The moment your gauge runs out of steam (miss enough times and that’ll happen), your stone will give up the ghost and plummet into the depths of the colorful ocean, that’s it. No more. You start again.
Skipping Stone throws in a little bit of variety with the boxes you will frequently encounter. At times, you will find your ‘fuel’ meter restored fully. Other times, you might find a pesky carp attached to your stone, a sudden onslaught of speed or even a lightning storm to throw off your rhythm. It adds an extra dimension to the game but it doesn’t change it overtly. Skipping Stone really is what it advertised itself as: a game about stone skipping.
Yet, at the same time, this is why the game is impossible to put down. It’s simple. It’s meditative. It’s also highly entertaining to watch the protagonist zoom gleefully against the water. Bright, well-drawn graphics that have become a staple of Gamevil fill the world. The supporting cast is adorable as is the scenery that slowly pans along behind. The animation, in particular, is noteworthy; it’s fluid enough to find room on a Saturday morning cartoon somewhere.
Skipping Stone is the kind of game you play everywhere. You could play it on the bus or on a train, while waiting in line for food or in anticipation of a friend. You are unlikely to find yourself playing the game for longer than a few minutes at a time. It’s not that sort of game. However, you’ll likely play it frequently and often without thinking. Skipping Stone is the kind of game you play when you have five minutes to spare and need something to occupy your hands. Given its outrageously affordable price, this makes it a definite must buy.