Most of my free time is spent on my backlog of old games, but once and a while a new game will come out for the Xbox 360 that grabs my attention away from 16-bit glory. And for the second time ever, that game has been free (from the Xbox Live Arcade download service).
The kids were in the other room and something caught my eye. A silly little game, obviously inspired by shows like Wipeout and Ninja Warrior. After a few seconds of watching this side-scroller in action, I made them quit the game so we could do some 2-player. 10 minutes later and I was downloading Doritos Crash Course in the living room for my own amusement.
Doritos Crash Course is disguised as a reality show obstacle course, but it is in fact 2D platforming bliss. You make you way through 15 levels (divided between USA, Europe, and Japan) jumping on springs, running on conveyor belts, dodging projectiles, swinging on ropes, and performing impossible jumps. Each level will take a few minutes to get through, but the clever medal system (copper, silver, gold) encourages repeat plays. As of this writing, I have obtained gold on every level with the exception of the final level. But I'll have that one soon enough.
This game really takes me back to a simpler time in gaming. You use the joystick to move around, A to jump, and the trigger for a turbo boost. If you hold the turbo for too long, your player will do a face plant so you have to manage it accordingly. And that's the whole game. No violence, no gimmicks, and no nonsense. It really is incredibly addicting and well worth the download. It's free after all.
The controls are absolutely sublime. The later stages require acrobatic feats of jumping and the controls are more than up to the task. Every time you fail and land in the water below the obstacle course, you know it's because you messed up, not the game. When you get everything just right, and nail the level, obtaining the gold medal, you feel a real sense of accomplishment.
The difficulty can be relentless, and I've read a few posts about people giving up before completing the Japanese stages (the last 5 levels of the game), but the game never throws anything at you that a seasoned gamer shouldn't be able to accomplish. Check your Halo skills at the door, because they will not help you here.
In short, I'm really blown away by Doritos Crash Course. And since Doritos is sponsored the game, I'll give a shout out to Doritos Blazin' Buffalo & Ranch, terrific chips.