Notes on Playing (and Beating) The Incident.

Mad props to Neven and Matt (and Cabel) for pulling off a fun, good-looking game. While The Incident lacks the replayability of games like Canabalt, Flight Control, Words With Friends, etc., it’s hard to find fault at $1.99. Two bucks is the perfect price point for something that must have taken insane amounts of time to design but ultimately adds up to only a few hours of entertainment per player. If you have an iPhone (or iPad), go get The Incident. It’s the kind of application that makes these platforms worth owning.

Tips & Tricks.

I’m the type of person who avoids reading reviews about movies and games lest they spoil my experience. But that’s me. Maybe you need a little help. Here’s what to do if you’re having trouble:

  • Get stuck on purpose. As long as you’re stuck, you can’t get hit from above. Wait until a black balloon arrives, then shake to free yourself. You’ll make up all the ground that you were losing while you were stuck. Jump lightly a few times to convince the game you can’t get out.
  • Keep stuff above you. A corollary to getting stuck on purpose, find a crack and duck underneath. Stuff falling from above you is, naturally, the most dangerous part of the game.
  • Options are key. If you are out and about, don’t get trapped in a canyon. Try to stay on top of things so you can always move quickly left or right.
  • Snag those power-ups. There are a crazy amount of extra lives and power-ups in this game. Make things easy on yourself and grab as many as you can. Those extra lives will come in handy.
  • Get the helmet, but don’t use it. The helmet keeps you safe, but it destroys anything that falls on your head. You’ll need that stuff to get to the top, so try to avoid getting hit.

Modest Proposals.

A few minor tweaks that would make the game more challenging and user-friendly.

  • Multiple simultaneous games. We’ve got at least two regular iPad users and several more guest users. The ability to have more than one game saved would be a boon.
  • Saving progress mid-level. It seems odd that exiting to the main menu would reset your level progress, but that’s the way it is. Maybe just needs clarification.
  • Difficulty meter. As is, The Incident is essentially a casual game for casual players. An easy way to amp up the difficulty would be removing or thinning the available power-ups. Another would be to increase the penalty for getting trapped. Make it tougher to use that protective bubble or impossible to avoid balloons while in it. Bottom line: The Incident is currently stuck on easy. Let’s see options for difficult and hard-core. It wouldn’t be difficult to add that setting to the menu and dial a few game properties up or down.

Last, kudos to these guys for creating a game that takes advantage of the iPhone’s native functionality rather than attempting to port a traditional style of gameplay. Shaking, tilting, and indiscriminate tapping are winning moves. The Incident might not have perfected iOS gaming, but it’s a shining example of how to do it right.