Poop-powered transportation is less fun than it sounds
What do you do when you’re stuck on island with nothing but a Port-a-Potty, your wits, and some spare airplane parts? While it might be tempting to use this to build a crazy Swiss Family Robinson treehouse (only cooler because, y’know, it’s made from airplanes), but the correct answer is apparently to turn the outhouse into a flying machine with a poop-powered engine, race down the nearest hillside, fly to the next island, and start the whole process over again. Or, at least, that’s the lesson that Potty Racers 2 would have us believe. Too bad the lesson sounds a lot more fun than it is.
Potty Racers 2 is an iPhone port of a popular Flash game over at Addicting Games. The basic idea is that players start off at the top of a hill, swipe their fingers rapidly to get a running start, and then launch themselves into the air. They have to travel a certain distance and then land safely; points are earned after each attempt based on distance and altitude, which can be used to purchase upgrades like wings, engines, landing gear, and fuel, all of which net greater rewards.
During early moments of gameplay, the game is actually pretty fun. It’s enjoyable to watch the potty-mobile barrel down a hill and wind up in the ocean, with a killer whale or a shark eating the hapless driver (though it should be noted that the feces and blood that would appear in the Flash game are missing here). But once the upgrades start getting purchased, problems start to become apparent.
First off, there’s the fact that there are unusually long load times every time a player starts a level. It’s strange because there really isn’t much to load, and there have been titles that are far larger and visually advanced that take less time.
Next, in order to use an engine to gain speed and altitude, players have to push a button in the lower left corner of the screen. Unfortunately, the button doesn’t always seem to work when it’s pressed. Additionally there’s no auto-save feature in the game; players have to save their games manually. The frustrating thing is that this isn’t apparent until the game is exited (or the phone goes to sleep) and then started up again: if a player hasn’t saved a game before now, they have to start over from the beginning.
Finally, Potty Racers 2 stops being fun pretty quickly because there’s absolutely no variety when it comes to gameplay or tactics. All players have to do is keep on attempting to get off the current island and continue purchasing upgrades until they can fly far enough to get to the next launching point. There’s no diversity, there’s no real strategy, and -after the first few levels- no real fun, either.
Potty Racers 2 is a direct port of the Flash version that sits on Addicting Games’s website, which means the stick figure graphics are still in place. That’s not normally a problem – games like Cartoon Wars have proven that stick figures can still be entertaining – but the visuals manage to be a lot smoother in the game’s web-based version. Every time (literally every time) a trick is executed in flight, the game will freeze up for a second.
The music that is played during flight is fun, goofy, and exciting. This is a double edged sword, though, as there’s only one song to listen to and it gets old pretty quick. Like everything else in the game, the audio stops being fun well before the game’s over.
The problem with Potty Racers 2 is that it’s basically a one punchline joke. It’s funny the first couple of times, but it doesn’t take long before it wears itself out. On top of that, it’s just not all that much fun to play due to the various gameplay/graphics issues. The only reason to pick this up for the iPhone is if you absolutely loved the game when you first played it on the web. Otherwise, don’t bother.