The Impossible Game

The Impossible Game is, as of this writing, the biggest selling Xbox Live Indie Game of all-time that isn’t a Minecraft clone. It’s a punisher, sure, but since you can’t improvise anything and every jump you have to make is predetermined, it’s more akin to trying to ace a Guitar Hero song set on expert. I’m not really into those kind of games, and my early experience playing the demo of this long before I founded Indie Gamer Chick left me feeling self-mutilatious. And no, I don’t care if that’s not really a word. It is now.

I’m guessing anybody that has hung around the XBLIG scene has probably at least played the demo for Impossible Game. Until last month, that was my only experience with it. Now that I officially do not play demos, I sprung for the full version, with the intent of catching up to all the top-selling games. The first thing I noticed about it? How clunky the jump button is. It’s slow. There seems to be a slight delay in the game’s reaction time. In a game that requires perfect precision with no room for error, I found the control scheme unacceptable. I found it baffling that this was a top game. #3 all-time selling and #10 in total rank.

Part of the problem is the only way to jump is with the A button. None of the other face buttons are used at all. What it could have used was jumping mapped to the bumpers. The least resistant buttons should have had jumping on them, which would have allowed for quicker actions and smoother play. Alas, it was not to be. I said to myself “the idea for this game isn’t bad or anything. If only there was a platform that did not have clunky buttons and inputs were almost completely instantaneous. Too bad such a device is purely hypothetical.” And while I was doing this, Brian was waving my iPhone at me. Weeks later, I figured out why he was doing so.

So I bought Impossible Game on iPhone, and it worked just swell. First off, the layout of the level is completely different from the Xbox version, which is a nice touch. There’s no “push here” area. You can pretty much push anywhere there isn’t some kind of overlay to cause the cube to jump. There was no delay in the jumping, leaving the only challenge as the actual challenge the game is meant to have. Fancy that. I still wasn’t convinced the game was anything special. You jump a cube over spikes. It scrolls quickly. You need to memorize the layout. Whoopee do. Then I noticed that over an hour has passed. Okay, so maybe it’s a little addictive.

This was back in late April. Since then, the Impossible Game has factored into my bathroom time, smoke breaks, TV watching, waiting rooms, and traffic jams. Every time I made it one space closer than my previous best, I would check the stat bar to see what percentage of the first stage (we’re only talking the first of five stages here) was finished. Finally today, after 603 total attempts (it keeps track), I fucking did it. I beat it. I beat a shallow, one-dimensional, total time-sink of a game. Brian asked me if all the time I had put into it was worth it just to get this:


The Impossible Game on Xbox 360 and iPhone was developed by FlukeDude

80 Microsoft Points and $0.99 said this is the biggest case of false advertising since the Neverending Story in the making of this review.

My intent had to go without placing any practice flags down, but I slipped at one point. Damnit all, oh well.

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