“Highway Traffic Racer Planet” is a traffic-dodging game developed by RebelApes. It's not a hugely new or unique genre, but it can be pretty addictive when done right. In fact, traffic-dodgers are becoming more popular with the ever rising popularity of endless runners. Does “Highway Traffic Racer Planet” excel and distinguish, or drag and become cookie cutter? Let's take a closer look at find out.
Before I talk about any of the bells and whistles of “Highway”, I want to draw your attention to the gameplay. Traffic-dodgers are only sustainable if they have decent controls and gameplay. Luckily, “Highway” does all of it right. First, you decide between two different modes. Either “One Way” or “Two Way”. There's “Freeride” mode, but I found it only useful for practice. As you barrel down the road, you move your car left to right using either tilt or touch controls. You can also control acceleration and braking. All of this feels arcadey and tight, which is good. Since you're trying to go as fast as possible without crashing, controls are incredibly important. The car doesn't drift between lanes or overshoot turns; everything feels accurate and deliberate. As you progress with different cars, handling and overall speed does change. Although the tight controls make it easy to learn each cars changes easily.
Now that we know that the gameplay is solid, we can move onto graphics and presentation. On your settings screen, you can adjust the overall graphical quality. This is super helpful in ensuring the game doesn't become choppy. Regardless of your device, “Highway” will always run solid. This is also where you adjust control methods and display options like MPH or KMH. The game looks cartoonish and bright, and has a cheerful art style. It makes the overall chaos seem a bit more happy-go-lucky than insane. As you unlock new areas (more on that later), the environments change up and stay refreshing. This is all presented in visually pleasing menus that are easy to navigate.
As I just mentioned, “Highway” has a cycle of unlockables and collectibles. When you first start the game, you'll spend most of your time in the Pickup truck. There's over ten cars to unlock, some of them being “premium” cars. In order to unlock the cars, you have to collect car parts scattered on the road during gameplay. Additionally, there's map pieces that unlock new locations. You'll want to unlock these new areas, because different areas have a higher chance of giving you more car parts and map pieces.
Another excellent addition is “missions”. These remind me of HalfBrick's “Jetpack Joyride”; small objectives to strive towards that aid in overall progression. You get three missions at a time, and the progress of these missions carry over from game to game. These different challenges give purpose to the endless cycle of gameplay; forcing you to play in different ways. Some missions may task you with dodging trains, or maybe colliding with them. Other missions will have you finishing at a certain distance, or maintaining high speeds. The variety of objectives is good, and the coin reward for completing them is even better.
Therein lies your overall gameplay cycle. As you complete missions and play well, you earn coins. While you try to complete missions, you'll pick up car parts and map pieces, working towards unlocking new areas and cars. Cars get purchased with coins, so everything feels centrally rewarding. As you unlock new cars and they handle differently, you start to find a favorite car and hone your skills. Progression is intertwined, and built upon a strong base of competent gameplay. “Highway Traffic Racer Planet” excels in the best places, but more importantly has life. The game feels colorful and alive; a mixture of adrenaline and excitement. Lesser traffic-dodgers end up feeling monotonous and annoying. “Highway” is able to break that mold and stay fun for quite a while. If you're looking for a high reflex game that feels rewarding to master, check out “Highway Traffic Racer Planet”. You'll be glad you did!
Reviewed by Matt
Watch Highway Traffic Racer Planet Trailer