Run, Jump, Splash – Cliff Diving Review
This game was reviewed on PlayStation Vita
A few days ago, we touched on the subject of augmented reality with the PlayStation Vita title Fireworks. To continue this topic, I present another free game to alter your living room: Cliff Diving. Can this daredevil live up to its pyrotechnic brother? Let’s find out.
Cliff Diving tasks the player with helping Diver Dan progress his career as a professional diver. Gameplay is fairly simple, with only a few basic mechanics. Gamers start by placing a single AR card onto the place they want to come alive. What happens here is magical: One half of the play area will generate the pool Dan will be aiming to land in, and the other half will crack open with the cliff Dan will be jumping from rising forth out of the hole. Chunks of your broken computer desk or table will litter the area as Dan flies in via helicopter, giving a great sense of immersion.
Now that the field is loaded, it’s time to jump. Players first need to get Dan’s adrenaline flowing to make sure he can cover the distance. A pulse line will appear at the bottom of the screen, and the rear pad must be tapped when the pulse hits the center. Once he’s pumped, he’ll begin a sprint toward a target at the end of the cliff. Here, players will need to hit the X-button when this symbol turns green and continue holding until a marker reaches the pool. To do tricks along the way, hoops will appear with one of four buttons floating beside them. As with the jump target, the gamer needs to press the presented button when the ring turns green as Dan passes through it.
How well you execute these actions will determine your final, Olympic-styled score. Higher scores will unlock new locations faster. While it may sound a little complex at first, it turns out to be incredibly simple and can be mastered as early as your first round.
This simplicity turns out to be a massive problem, however. While gameplay is quite fun, it gets very dull fairly quickly due to the lack of difficulty. As the game progresses, jumps will get longer, faster, and more hoops will appear, but it still feels as simple as the very first jump. Add in the fact all levels can be completed within a few hours with no additional game modes or features, and overall experience is quite short-lived. There just isn’t enough here to grab a gamer for longer than a few plays, and no real reasons to come back to it.
Visually, the title is well put-together, and features a very diverse set of locations. Animations are smoother and issue-free, with slow-motion never suffering from frame-rate losses. Cliffs can range from tropical fissures, glacial lakes, and even city construction cranes. Players may even build their own jumps using two AR cards. A basic pool and jump pad can be positioned by each card, and the pool’s size may either be enlarged or shrunk. This mode helps show just how personal AR play can be.
Audio is a bit of a downer, though, mainly due to the lack of a soundtrack. Players will only hear music in the forms of a basic menu track and a brass fanfare upon successfully completing a level. While this gives a perfect opportunity to listen to your own tunes (I recommend Minus the Bear), this exclusion of a dedicated soundtrack feels incredibly cheap, even for a free title.
Cliff Diving is a bit of a hit-and-miss. While gameplay is enjoyable, it won’t last very long and will leave gamers somewhat disappointed. However, what the title does do very well is show just how personal and engaging AR mechanics can be. If developers can capture these kinds of magic moments in higher-budgeted games, then the future of AR play will be a bright one indeed.
Final Score: 3.75 / 5.0 and a few broken bones from an unsuccessful backflip.
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