Does not Commute

Review: Drive Yourself Crazy with Does not Commute

Featured as App of the Week on the App Store, Does not Commute- from Mediocre, the obviously not mediocre masterminds behind Sprinkle and Smash Hit- lets players experience the thrill of being a semi-omniscient traffic god.

The game is free to download and theoretically free to play. There is a $1.99 optional purchase in-game that unlocks automatic saves called "Checkpoints" that will only ever save your best time. This feature may seem slightly irrelevant in the first few stages of the game, but as levels go on and seconds get scarce, saving your best time is pretty great.

The entire game consists of 8 levels total- one tutorial level and seven actual game levels. Gameplay consists of using two onscreen directional arrows to guide an assorted collection of ridiculous strangers and their vehicles from their point of origin to their destination. It is the arranging of the traffic that actually shapes the game, but the narrative of the story brings the experience to life. The character narratives are short- only a few sentences each- but those sentences make a game that could have been tedious- enjoyable all of the way through.

The first four levels will unlock upgrades that can be used to shape gameplay, but each upgrade improves a vehicle at the expense of another aspect (usually speed). The game is essentially a speedrun that is broken down into sections. The timer starts with 60 seconds and, although you will literally pick up time as you cruise around, the timer will never reset, unless you give up at start back at the beginning. So, the object of the game is more like a puzzle and less like a simulation. You will choose a course for each vehicle that will be fast, but will also (at least narrowly) avoid decimating an entire row of unsuspecting citizens.

The game is relatively short- only 8 levels- and once you get the hang of the controls, it goes pretty quickly. It took me about 5 hours off and on to play through and the only post-game is the option to try again and do better.

Going in to the game, I had high expectations for music and graphics. Mediocre always seems to do well at creating these neat little worlds and matching them with groovy tunes. This game is no exception. The music was mostly riffs on smooth jazz, but I didn't turn it off and I'm not really crazy about having my music like I like my peanut butter.

The sound effects tied the whole little experience together with realistic sounds that were integrated very cleanly into the gameplay. Nothing ever made me want to flip the sound off or just stop playing, except the children screaming on the bus. I was always really careful with the bus.

Overall, I loved the game. Is it for everyone? Absolutely not. Is any game for everyone? Nope! Does not Commute is a vehicular twist on a puzzle game with an engaging story and easy controls. Nobody dies, or even gets out of their cars. There is not blood or dismemberment of any kind. It IS NOT a 20+ hour, open-world, GTA-style driving simulation. If you like a good puzzle and love a good story, play this game! You'll love it! If the above description isn't you, you will probably be less than thrilled.

I gave the game 5 out of 5 stars for being awesome just as it is and also in the hopes that Mediocre will make more of this. The App Store needs more of this.
5.0 / 5.0
 
review by CheerfulStar (Mallary) | Apr 30th 2015

 

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