A funny thing about childhood is that most youngsters go through a spot wherein they enjoy playing with toy cars. The infatuation doesn’t always last long; in fact, most of us fall out of love with cars around the time they start nuzzling into our pockets and eating up our money through insurance and repair bills.
Still, we never really forget that innocent time when cars make us happy simply by existing in a miniature form that can be pushed across the living room carpet with an energetic hand and a “brrrrrbrrr” sound effect. Blocky Highway from Dogbyte Games aims to recapture that youthful energy, and it largely succeeds. Its smooth controls and colorful scenery built out of boxels really pep up its endless driving action.
As you might determine by glancing at its visuals, Blocky Highway takes some inspiration from Hipster Whale’s Crossy Road. It’s not just the chunkified graphics, either; you can collect cars in the same way that Crossy Road lets you collect players. Grabbing vehicles is done in much the same manner, too. You earn coins as you play, and once you have 100 coins, you can draw for a new machine. Choosing requires you to tap on one of three sealed boxes, adding to the game’s toy-like presentation.
There are several collections to build up, including cars, vans, and army vehicles. Within those categories, you can nab buses, ambulances, taxis, transports, and more.
Blocky Highway’s whimsical graphics are a major source of the game’s charm — especially when you start to notice the detail put into the highway’s backgrounds (farms! Boats! Windmills!). But pigs and chickens built out of boxels can’t carry an experience, so it’s nice to be able to confirm that Blocky Highway plays well, too.
The controls, arguably the most important part of a driving game, are as smooth as fresh asphalt. You have your choice between tilt steering or touch controls, and both respond perfectly. There’s an easy mode (wherein the traffic goes in one direction), a hard mode (both directions), and a “free drive,” which lets you zip down the lane without danger.
Your goal in Blocky Highway is to rack up a high score, which is done primarily through reckless driving — the way the road gods intended. Swapping paint with another vehicle at high speeds earns you points, as does springing over trains Dukes of Hazzard-style. You can even earn huge quantities of points after you crash, provided you manipulate your car during “crash time” to bounce off the roofs of nearby cars. Feel free to hum the Super Mario Bros theme while doing this.
Blocky Highway’s bright graphics, tight controls and adjustable difficulty levels make it a near-perfect driving game for players of all ages and skill levels. Opening up new highways beyond the initial country road is admittedly expensive (though you can grab them through an in-app purchase), but honestly, careening down the free highway provided should keep you engaged for hours anyway.