IUGO’s Cliffed is a 2D scrolling racer, where players race to the bottom of a seemingly never ending series of boulder-laden platforms. The screen scrolls upward and quickly disappears above (behind) you as race downward through the openings in the platform below, trying desperately not to get trapped and pushed off the top of the screen (aka cliffed). Perhaps the best way to describe the game is to say that it’s like you are skiing down a mountain (with lots of moguls) and a furious avalanche is right at your back rapidly picking up speed as you go.
The controls are simple, just two buttons, left and right. Tap/hold either direction button to move your character in that direction. Tap twice and you will burst in that direction. Move through the holes in the platforms as quickly as possible to drop down to the platform below.
Players get to choose from 12 unique (and rather cute) characters, the majority of which will have to be unlocked before they are playable. These include a robot, a teddy bear, an alien and even a boy wearing a paper bag over his head (at least we think its a boy). Cliffed offers both single player and up to 4 player online-multiplayer action. In the single-player mode, your goal is to make it as far down as possiblwithout getting “cliffed” as the game progressively gets faster and faster.
During the game, players can see a running total of the distance covered and the total game time. There is also a local leaderboard to keep track of your progress. The single-player mode is fun, but games can last quite a while (depending on your skill level) and the scenery tends to get a bit monotones after a while. We’d love to see IUGO add some more variety in the scenery, perhaps the background could change at certain milestones, anything to mix it up a bit. A little more variety in the obstacle department (instead of just rocks) would be nice as well.
For us, the online multiplayer mode is what really kicked this game into gear, and is what made us “fall” for Cliffed. You race against up to 3 other players in a head-to-head match up, all frantically trying to beat each other to the bottom of 1,000 platforms or to be the last one standing. In this mode you will see all four characters on the screen at once (at least initially) and each has a colored word-balloon over them to designate their current standing in the race. If you are too slow and start trailing behind the rest of the pack, don’t worry, slower and steady CAN still win the race. When a player gets eliminated due to being “cliffed”, the remaining players’ standings are immediately updated. This means you still stand a good chance winning the race, if all the players ahead of you mess up and get cliffed, you just need to make it past the level where the furthest opponent was cliffed. All of our online match-ups over wii-fi connected quickly and seamlessly, there was no discernible increase in lag when compared to our single-player (offline) experience. IUGO has done a great job with this system. When you win an online match, you earn a point, and these points are what determine your rank in the online leaderboards.
The online play utilizes IUGO’s new proprietary online system, IUGO VIP and the VIP Program. With this system, you can earn points by referring friends and these points allow you to unlock special in-game bonuses. For instance, in Cliffed, you can unlock an additional playable character and in other IUGO games there are other special extras available to VIP Program members. If you do decide to purchase Cliffed or any other IUGO VIP-enabled title, we would appreciate if you could enter 5883 as your Referrer. 😉 This system doesn’t have all the achievements and features of the other major iPhone social-networking platforms like OpenFeint, but the unique bonus content is a nice perk.
The stylized graphics are cute, crisp and clean and the game’s eclectic mix of playable characters are sure to amuse and entertain. In a game of constant motion, are happy to report that everything stayed clear and didn’t look muddled or blurry. Players have the option to listen to either the game’s electronic/house music soundtrack or play music from their iPod (OS permitting).
We do have a a few game enhancement suggestions… First, as we mentioned earlier, some variety in the background would be really nice. Second, so the player doesn’t have to look up in the top right corner to see the current distance, it’d be nice to have “mile markers” every once in a while (perhaps on the rocks) that would tell you what platform you are on, so you don’t need to take your eyes off the action. Finally, we’d love to see some shorter distance options in multiplayer mode. Sometimes we just don’t have time for a full 1000 level game and would like to see some quicker options. In the multiplayer game startup screen it does list “Race To 1000” as the game mode, so perhaps additional distances are coming in a future update???
Speaking of future updates, we’ve gotten word that the following changes will be coming in the next release:
– 2 brand new Cliffed™ characters
– New character unlocking mechanism
– Difficulty level selection for single player
– Online leaderboard for each difficulty levels
– Online multiplayer bug fixes
– Online multiplayer optimization
– Faster score resolution for winners
– Faster game matchup
Despite our embarrassingly low number of multiplayer matchup wins, we have been having a lot of fun with Cliffed and definitely recommend to any fan of farthest distance or even racing games. If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you…why yes! We’ve fallen for Cliffed and we think you will too.