Never trust a piñata

I had a bone to pick with the developers of Rubber Tacos. I calmly walked up to their section of the Zynga Unleashed event, practicing the words in my head: “A taco made of rubber sounds disgusting, and you’re all bad people.” As I drew closer, I noticed a screen looping the trailer, showing the antics of a cute little animated Luchador family. It was at that exact moment my heart grew two sizes.

Rubber Taco was developed by Sava Transmedia, and is the first third-party title developed for the Zynga.com platform. Both companies have a vested interest in the game performing well: It would make it easier for Zynga to entice more developers to make games for them, and bring in substantial revenue for Sava. The stakes are high, but you wouldn’t know it from speaking with the developers.

After a round of handshakes and the requisite business card exchange, I was handed an iPad and encouraged to give the game a shot. And as a physics puzzler, shooting is exactly what I did. The object of the game is to get various family members from point A to point B, all the while retrieving the peppers stolen by a crazy piñata. Doing so requires you to aim your character just right, so they volley down a set of ropes and safely reach their final destination. The admittedly offbeat action will take place on over 120 different levels, with a lot of new and interesting game mechanics revealing themselves as you progress.

I had the chance to check out one of these new mechanics during the demo: The ability to reposition the various ropes you leap from over the course of the level. Believe me when I say that it made the game quite a bit more difficult (I have the death count to prove it).

Every member of the family possesses a power all their own. One, for example, is capable of adding a gravitational pull to the goal area in levels. Instead of having to land on the platform, getting close enough to it will be enough to do the trick. Despite this advantage, I still struggled to complete one of the later levels. In response, one of the developers showed me how to bypass a level. It’s a finite ability, but one they feel will prevent players from quitting in frustration.

For those of you who would like to see levels even more difficult than the game’s offerings (jerks), or even those who just like creating stuff (not jerks), there’s a level editor available. What I saw of it was little, but players will have access to all of the game’s assets, so creating a hellishly difficult one shouldn’t be too difficult. I asked if it was possible to create a level that’s impossible for players to complete, but was informed that the game forces you to successfully complete the level before saving it. To put it another way: You won’t be able to mess with your friends.

When I inquired about a release date, a PR rep informed me that Rubber Tacos would be “coming soon.” Despite its position as one of the first third-party games for the Zynga platform, it will also be coming to Facebook, iOS and Android. I encourage you to try and play the game on every single platform at the same time. For science.