Crossy Road is one of the all-time great mobile games. Taking the Frogger format of “vulnerable animal crossing dangerous streets” and making it endless is the best example yet of mobile game as the true inheritor of arcade sensibilities (good and bad). The voxel art style is adorable and iconic. I’ve seen everyone from my girlfriend to my co-workers become utterly addicted. I’ve played it on my tiny phone and on massive touch screen displays meant for work presentations and had just as much fun.
So really it was only a matter of time before this absolute king of a mobile game lent a helping hand to the Apple Arcade subscription service. And the good news is Crossy Road Castle delivers even more delicious chicken goodness.
I’ve been a fan of developer Hipster Whale ever since playing bonkers freeware game Game of the Year 420 Blaze It. But their post-Crossy Road output has been fairly delightful as well, seeing as it mostly builds on the ideas of Crossy Road. Shooty Skies! Disney Cross Road! Pac-Man 256… Pac-Man meets Crossy Road.
What’s nifty about Cross Road Castle is that it’s basically an entirely different kind of game. Yeah you’re helping a chicken hop to safety across endless generated levels. But this is really more of a 2D platforming roguelike in the vein of Spelunky. Instead of an infinite stretch of highway you tackle a gauntlet of discreet rooms, stylishly presented as a tower that spins forever.
The algorithm spits out some pretty clever challenges, even if they aren’t the most original things in the world. I enjoy how the level design leans into the verticality of playing in portrait mode. There are barrel blasting sequences straight out of Donkey Kong Country. There’s multiplayer, too. And thank god for any platformer where the touch controls aren’t complete garbage.