Once again, the deep, philosophical essay I was planning to write just isn’t coming as easily as I’d like. So rather than diligently buckling down and churning something out, I’m going to take the easy way out and write something that doesn’t overly tax that thinkie-thing in the middle of my head.
Let’s talk about Giant Boulder of Death.
Giant Boulder of Death is the most recent time-waster that’s taken up more of my free time than I’d like to admit. The concept is pretty simple: you’re a giant boulder. Roll down the mountain and crush everything in your wake. Get points. Unlock stuff. Become INVINCIBOULDER. ??? Profit.
For me, it scratches the same itch that launching games like Burrito Bison or Hedgehog Launch do: if you play just a bit more, maybe you can see what’s beyond the last screen. It also has shades of Katamari Damacy, but rather than picking stuff up you’re knocking it down.
The controls are also pretty neat. It’s a smartphone game, so you can use the built-in accelerometer and steer the boulder by tilting the device. I find myself leaning into turns, much like I did as a kid with the console controller. Periodic challenges keep thing interesting, like knocking over a certain number of animals or making it a certain distance down the mountain.
Of course, being free, there’s tons of ways to pay real-world money to unlock various upgrades and alternate settings. I’ve managed to avoid spending any money, but I can see the little design tweaks they’ve made to encourage users to do so. Like giving you the option to use gems (the games rarer, premium currency) to bypass challenges or to continue rolling after hitting spikes or homing mines (this is where I’ve spent most of mine). While you can earn them in-game, they are slow to appear. Although you can always watch an ad or two to make a quick gem.
I can’t really explain why games like this intrigue me so much. But for whatever reason I spent most of my day off yesterday sitting at my computer, staring at my phone as I crushed my yodeling enemies under my spherical boot.
Go play Giant Boulder of Death. It’s fun. You didn’t have anything productive you needed to be doing, right?