The mobile game, Dumb Ways to Die, was brought to my attention by a close friend who is somewhat of an Andriod / mobile app guru in my small town. Needless to say I was skeptical after I found out that the game was part of a railway safety campaign by an Australian train company called Metro Trains.
Advertising campaigns are generally preachy, full of messages about the company and that just does not sound like something you could have fun with, even though the name suggested some dark humor. I then found the video and that peaked my interest, so I instantly grabbed this free game from the Playstore with my Samsung Galaxy S2 and started to play…
Graphics and sound
Do not expect anything ground breaking or award winning from the graphics. The game is a 2D experience with admittedly cute animations and characters that do move fluently and I can really not find any flaws in either animation or presentation. With so many games boasting high end graphics on mobile devices, Dumb Ways to Die delivers somewhat of a nostalgic experience and does it well.
The sound, just like the graphics, is nothing amazing. Characters sound exactly as cute as they look, which is a feat to accomplish. The chopping and death sounds are both satisfying and a tiny bit disturbing when you take in the whole scene the game creates. The thing that really got me hooked onto the game in the first place was the theme song of the video. The game has a retro version of the theme song and is so fun to listen to that I have decided to make it my ringtone!
The actions that you will need to perform involve swiping, tapping on the screen as well as connecting game elements. This might sound simple and for the most part it is, however, some of the levels such as the balloon level require skillful, fast hand movements in a very limited amount of time.
Even though the game delivers cute, funny and sometimes even disturbing levels as your characters meet their untimely fates, the game delivers the message of the campaign to you, which is that “the dumbest way to die is being hit by a train while not being careful, so be careful around trains”. Therefore the game fulfills its advertisement purposes yet does not bother you in the slightest.
The only noticeable part of the game regarding train safety is a small safety pledge button located on the top right of the game’s home screen. Even this little message you get when pressing the button is cute and made me laugh the first time I did it.
Entertainment value and lasting appeal
Depth is something this game does not have, not by a long shot. There are 15 levels or mini games that you will tackle and they are set in random order every time you start a new game so you can play all 15 levels without completing them all very easily. That being said, does every game need to have a lot of depth to be entertaining? Well for me, after playing Dumb Ways to Die, the answer is a resounding “NO!”
The game entertains you with its humor and can be very challenging at times when trying to beat a high score or personal best. Tweeting your results to friends, which is built into the game, gives it a somewhat competitive element that kept me playing much more than I probably should have.
As you progress to a higher and higher score, you will unlock more characters on the home screen at the train station and eventually unlock all the characters which means you get to watch the video through the game.This little carrot on a stick kept me playing for a few more hours just to see what eventually happens. Check out the video that started it all right here. Be warned that the video contains cute characters that die horrible yet funny deaths and contains mild spoilers!
Dumb Ways to Die will probably never win any awards; it will also most likely never become the next Angry Birds. It will also probably not keep you busy for the foreseeable future but it will definitely entertain and make you smile while it delivers its safety message in the best possible way!
Be that as it may, the game reminds me of an animated show many years ago called “Happy Tree Friends” that had cute creatures die in the most horrible ways imaginable. Dumb Ways to Die tones down on the gore but has cuteness and humor aplenty, making it a fun experience and definitely worth trying out. You can grab Dumb Ways to Die here.
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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd