Hipster Whale knows how to refresh a classic formula. The team's best-known work is Crossy Road, a new spin on Frogger. The follow-up, Crossy Road Castle, brings back the characters from the original game and has them tackling a tower full of procedurally generated levels that take 15 to 30 seconds to complete.
Crossy Road Castle is divided into distinct sections. After every 10, players reach a rest area where they can exchange 100 coins for an extra-life heart. Every 30 levels, players encounter a boss, and beating it rewards the victors with coins. The game is over if players run out of lives. They have three. Like several titles on Apple Arcade, the game supports four-player multiplayer. Gamers can join in on different screens or they can all play together on a big monitor via Apple TV.
At its heart, the game is a pure platforming experience and the Hipster Whale team nails the jumping mechanics. It's Mario-esque in the way characters such as Chicken, Mallard and company leap chasms and pounce on foes. Players can use a controller or they can use the touch-screen, which feels almost as good as physical gamepad.
The replay value of Crossy Road Castle comes in the collectibles. Players will use the coins that they gather to buy new characters. The rare T coins unlock the next tower and higher-tier heroes. The green gems are even more uncommon and found behind green doors that are alternate exits in levels. They take more work to get to but the rewards of more coins and the gem are worth it. If players collect all five gems, they unlock a secret for each tower.
Playing the game alone is fun but Crossy Road Castle really shines as a multiplayer game. It's worth checking out for those with an Apple Arcade subscription or the curious can pick it up for $4.99.
PLOT Enter the castle and try and to get through all the rooms.
RATED E for Everyone
DETAILS $4.99, available from Apple Arcade
BOTTOM LINE Crossy Road Castle is king.