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iPhone  header logo

Hop Race


For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Bouncing off course

Product: Hop Race | Developer: Rana Software | Publisher: Advanced Computer Learning Company | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network), Bluetooth | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0, 1.0.1
 
Hop Race iPhone, thumbnail 1
Back in 2008, a team of Japanese scientists and origami masters prepared to launch a paper aeroplane from the International Space Station, hoping to break the world record for the longest flight by a sheet of A4.

Unfortunately for Takuo Toda and co., the mission was aborted on the grounds that no bugger could possibly track its descent and therefore verify the distance travelled.

In Hop Race your origami frog faces a different challenge altogether, swapping the dangerous environs of low Earth orbit for figure-of-eight toy race tracks.

While developer Rana Software should be congratulated for concocting an original racer, its handling, ponderousness, and harsh linear progression prevent this title from leaping over the finishing line in front.

Long jump specialist

Folded into any of three amphibious shapes and bedecked in your choice of 16 skins, your paper frog is propelled around 12 tracks by either tapping furiously on the screen to hop or holding down the virtual button for a longer jump.

Tilting your handset steers your grown-up tadpole, though the staccato nature of movement makes controlling it arduous and wearisome. When these long-distance jumpers collide, it’s almost impossible to recover the situation. The highly sensitive controls and fragility of the frog often forces you off the edge or into facing the wrong way.

Paper cuts

Hopping into action against a trio of opponents in a pre-qualifying round, you have to place in the top two to receive an invitation into the first tournament proper. Finishing as winner or runner-up ensures advancement to quarters and semis, but only victory in the competition finale unlocks the next course and associated event.

I quickly became frustrated at having to restart entire tournaments even when pipped in the final by a mere frog’s leg, since each round of racing within an event is contested over the same circuit.

Without the obvious sensation of speed and momentum normally associated with karting or F1 sims, the pursuits soon resembled those agonising, plodding school sports day sack races.

Entrapment

That’s not to say Hop Race lacks any form of charm: the presentation and backdrops are endearing and impressively drawn.

The available power-ups lend the game a notable degree of strategy, allowing you to ensnare rivals in temporary netting, and to calculatedly select your victims via a target box.

Replay value can be found on the local and worldwide scoreboards, whilst the inclusion of Bluetooth, wi-fi, and online multiplayer modes provides welcome alternatives to the single-player marathon campaign.

Whether Hop Race was designed for a younger crowd or not, its appeal probably won’t stretch far beyond that demographic.
 
Hop Race
Reviewer photo
Richard Brown | 3 October 2010
Stilted gameplay, frustrating handling, and strict linear progression prevent Hop Race from receiving the chequered flag
 
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