Joe Danger Touch

Everyone now and then we'll play a stunt racing game that seems pretty decent on our iOS devices and think: "Why doesn't Hello Games just release Joe Danger on the App Store?", or "Why don't Red Lynx please hurry up and release a version of Trials for mobile devices?"

This usually happens because while many a me-too game has appeared on the App Store over the last couple of years, few if any have lived up to the polish so necessary for these sorts of games. As you might imagine then, we were more than a little intrigued when Hello Games got in touch to offer us the chance to take an early look at a new portable version of Joe Danger, due to be released later on this month.

The really important thing to note first is that while this mobile edition is visually comparable with its console counterparts, the core gameplay is sort of the same, yet also kind of different at the same time. It's still Joe Danger, but the way you take charge of the little guy has taken a radically different turn for touchscreens.

Most crucially is the absence of any acceleration or braking controls. Joe now speeds through each level automatically, leaving you free to tap on obstacles to destroy them, make finger-presses to duck under or leap over objects, and use gentle finger gestures to pull off wheelies and other tricks. This might disappoint hardened Joe Danger fans, but we feel it's the right decision given how many games have fallen down by sticking resolutely to existing controls.

What will certainly make everyone happy is the news that this mobile edition is packed full of a huge amount of content. There are at least 60 levels in this preview build alone, and each one has been designed to include a variety of challenges, from tracks that require you to quickly change lanes, to levels that send you drifting over a huge series of high-powered fans. As in the original games, there are different rewards for reaching different objectives, adding plenty of replay value to the game as well.

In addition to a generous selection of levels, there's a wide array of character types to choose from too. Each one is unlocked with coins earned during gameplay, and each provides a different set of performance boosts, whether that's a combo increase or a score bonus. We're a little on the fence about the super-expensive Golden Joe, which costs a disproportionate number of coins and possesses stats that will undoubtedly affect leaderboards, but we'll just have to see how that turns out in the finished game.

With that slight concern aired, we have to say we came away from this Touch edition of Joe Danger suitably impressed. It's a faithful homage to the original games, while at the same time making a virtue out of touchscreen technology, rather than trying to shoehorn traditional controls onto an ill-suited platform. We'll bring you a full review of the game as soon as it becomes available to download.