Hardway: an endless road builder to drive you happily nuts
It’s the Hardway or the highway–or literally both–in this addictive arcade endless road-builder that’ll drive you nuts!
On the Hardway highway
It’s a lovely day in the Hardway imaginary archipelago of Greenland as you hop into your Boxy Truck and hit the highway. The thing is the highway has to be built as you roll in order to cruise from island to island safely. Timing and accuracy are key in connecting the islands with swing-out roads and bridges. Fail to do so and you plunge into the ocean as somewhere someone screams Game Over! Then things start all over again from the beginning. This is Hardway, and while simple, there’s no easy way about it. Nevertheless this game will quite easily drive you nuts.
So what’s so simple about Hardway? First of all it’s a simply delightful arcade style game. The Apple TV Siri remote controls are mere left or right pad clicks. The clicks cause a section of highway, essentially a bridge, to swing out from the pivot of the previous road section. The simple graphic style is nonetheless colorful and busy, full of characters and humorous details. The scenes get more nutty as you advance in levels. Well why is it called Hardway? To quote the developers at Digital Melody “Building roads is hard, driving is hard – that’s why we call it Hardway.” Okay, I guess that explains it. But seriously, building those swing out road sections can be tricky. Timing is needed to start construction before your vehicle goes too far along the highway. Accuracy is called for to choose the direction and stop it on sometimes tiny islands.
The Hardway game premise follows with your typical free-to-play system. There are coins to collect, which the vehicle must get close to. Coins are rather sparse, but key to unlocking new vehicles and subsequent levels. Each vehicle–32 in all–has its own challenges to fulfill and earns you the driver an achievement collectible stamp. And some cash toward buying a new ride. Naturally you can purchase new rides with In-App Purchases. Occasionally you get a free Suitcase gift to boost your coin purse. There are 8 environments to traverse from Greenland through Icyland tundra, over Postapo desert islands to weirder places like extraterrestrial Cosmo Dream. As if the way wasn’t hard enough, obstacles like lighthouses, sunken rockets or even moving islands further challenge you. Another delightful factor is the music, ranging from surf sound to banjo or 1950”s sitcom type themes.
Addicted to nuts
So what’s the deal with driving you nuts? Mainly it’s the fact that screwing up returns you to the start of the level like some Ground Hog’s Day reality. Also I experienced some sudden invisible barriers that stopped my progress abruptly on the tvOS version. This didn’t happen on the mobile version, but then again maybe I just suck. Nevertheless a Hardway makes for an addictive game that keeps you trundling along the highway. So, the devs at Digital Melody know how to hook you in. They brought us Surfingers (see our review), Timberman and weird game jam product Masky (our video review). With Hardway their brand of humor and style comes across awesomely–even if it did drive me happily nuts!