When a snow shovel just won’t do
When game developer Dan Fitzgerald decided to take a “mini-vacation”from developing his main game, Dog Sled Saga, he really didn’t take a vacation at all. Instead, he got to work on another title, but rather than an Iditarod-esque adventure, this new game is much more…undistinguished —undistinguished in the task at hand, not the fun to be had. Make no mistake: Dawn of the Plow is plenty of fun.
Dawn of the Plow has players clearing the roads of snow, allowing drivers to safely get home. Snow is constantly falling, and if left neglected, will pile up and completely block a road. As the driver of a snow plow truck, it is the player’s duty to ensure that everyone can get home in a timely manner. Drivers waiting for extended amounts of time will cause the player’s approval rating to plummet. The more a driver waits, the longer the approval meter drops. Too low of an approval rating and the player gets fired. Players get a point for every driver that makes it through the map and gets home. Each level requires a certain number of points before the next level unlocks.
Sometimes in order to clear a pile of snow, players must go off-road to move around a car and tackle clearing out a pile. Easier said than done. The snow causes a severe loss of traction and makes tight turns impossible. Of course, there is more than one car on the road at a time, so skidding around out of control is complicated by other motorists attempting to get home. Accidently smashing into another car is grounds for immediate termination. Chances are, players will accidently sideswipe or rear-end another car, long before their approval rating hits zero.
Luckily for players, Dawn of the Plow randomly spawns pickups throughout the levels, which upgrade the snow plow in some way. One of the most useful pickups is special tires that allow the player to drive on snow without loss of traction. Another pickup allows the player to coat an area with ice, which stops snow from piling up. All the pickups expire eventually, so you’ll need to be as efficient as possible when one is equipped.
Dawn of the Plow has map functionality similar to Pac-Man: driving off the edge of the left side of the screen will teleport the player to driving in across on the right side. An alert is displayed when a car is in close proximity to the opposing side of the map, letting players know that if they cross over, they may hit the indicated car. However, if the car is heading left as the player crosses over on the right side of the map, by the time the camera pans over to the location (especially on the larger maps) the vehicle will be too close to avoid and a collision will occur. This did not happen too often, but the issue was always frustrating when it did, especially when I was pretty close to unlocking the next level.
Besides that singular flaw, Dawn of the Plow is a fun little game to sink a few moments into throughout the day. The ease-of-play makes it perfect for a wide variety of players, and the slight map variations with each playthrough help to elongate the experience even further.