33. Crossy Road
Release date: November 20, 2014
Developer: Hipster Whale
Publishers: Hipster Whale, Yodo 1
How many mobile games can be considered true phenomenons that break down barriers and convince otherwise non-gamers to try them out? Angry Birds, for sure, along with Candy Crush Saga. Words With Friends probably deserves that honor as well, while Flappy Bird flamed out just a little too quickly. I’d argue that Crossy Road deserved to be in that discussion as well, with one key difference: it received more critical love than all of the games I just mentioned.
It’s not because Hipster Whale reinvented the wheel or anything. Crossy Road is a pretty simple, straightforward affair that mashes up the sensibility of Frogger with the elements of a procedurally generated endless runner. Add in the irresistible pixelated graphics and the numerous touches of humor and wit and you end up with one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” formulas.
And make no mistake about it, it’s a darn good one. Plenty of people who don’t download many or any mobile games found room for Crossy Road on their iPhones. It has the kind of appeal that cuts across demographics, and it’s showing signs of having cross-media potential as well. You know, kind of like Angry Birds.
In the meantime, the game keeps receiving just enough updates to keep it fresh. I have a feeling we’re going to keep sending things across those roads, rivers and train tracks for some time to come.
Next: Infinity Blade II