Commute: Heavy Traffic – When games simulate life, are they still fun? (App Review)

Sometimes fun can find you in the weirdest of places. A boring commute is rarely one of them, but making fun out of the monotony of sitting in traffic is exactly what Commute: Heavy Traffic aims to do. However, can anything really make a constant stop-and-go of city traffic any fun? Let’s take a look.

Developer: Kiary Games
Price: 
Free/IAP
Download: 
Google Play, iOS

Controls

This game has a quick and easy control scheme. It lets you pick from its standard controls or a more advanced set. Basic control has your car move forward when you touch and hold the screen and brake when you let go. Advanced settings will cause your car to accelerate when you touch the screen but will only brake when you touch the brake button at the bottom center of the screen. Both modes have you simply swipe to the left or right to switch lanes. I prefer different controls for the different game modes, using the basic for most modes, but switching to advanced when I play a mode that requires more lane switching. Once you take a minute to learn the ropes, it’s off to the game.

The Commute

Ugh... We're never gonna get there.Ugh… We’re never gonna get there.

You start off with a full road of traffic in front of you. Once you tap to begin, traffic comes and loads up behind you completely boxing you in. Every few seconds, traffic in front of you will move forward and you need to keep up with it or get rear-ended. There is a sweet spot behind the car in front of you about a car and a half long that you can stop in safely. The cars behind you care little for your safety or their own, so you can’t expect them to stop any further back than your designated safe space.

Similar to driving a real car, the faster you drive the more time to need to stop, so timing is key along with tapping to control your speed. Once you get your rhythm and timing down, you can make it pretty far. There are different mission objectives, but most are nothing more than making it to the next major building. There are also a few different locale to visit, but there isn’t really any change in gameplay. You can unlock multiple cars that have different stats, but for the most part these changes are not very helpful or necessary to your success in the game.

Game modes

Your red car really stands out in the sea of brown and white vehicles, so you can easily keep track of yourself as you smash carelessly into everyone else around you.Your red car really stands out in the sea of brown and white vehicles, so you can easily keep track of yourself as you smash carelessly into everyone else around you.

Besides the default game mode, there are two other modes included: Two Way Traffic and Wrong Way. Two Way Traffic adds 3 additional lanes next to your regular lanes that are traveling in the opposite directions, but they have so much less traffic. Is it worth the risk to jump to the other side of the road to get a bit more distance? You have to decide if and when it’s worth the risk because merging back into your proper lanes is very difficult and requires good timing, but the lure of picking up a lot of speed from the nearly empty roadway is super tempting. When the traffic does come down the road, you will not always have a safe space, so be careful.

Wrong Way is just like it sounds. You are going the wrong way down the highway. There is more space between the cars in this mode, so it’s easier to dodge them, but again they don’t care about you or your safety very much. The will occasionally brake for you, but you can’t rely on it because just as many will crash into you head on. Both of these modes are an amazing twist on the core gameplay and are incredibly fun.

Conclusion

Commute: Heavy Traffic tries to take the most boring and unfun part of your day and create something fun out of it, and it succeeds quite well. You have your main game mode that brings a lot of challenge, and the other two modes are incredibly fun. With a slew of vehicles to unlock and several locations to visit, you can play this one for a while.