If you’re playing the new touchscreen version of Joe Danger correctly, it should appear to the casual observer as though you’re giving your iOS device the most hyperactive, bruising massage ever administered. Tap the starting line to send Joe’s stunt motorcycle rumbling on its merry sidescrolling way, at which point the bike clips along on its own steam as if the throttle’s stuck. From then on it’s a mad flurry of gestures. Tap to jump. Swiping in various directions both on the ground and in the air will perform a host of stunts that increase your score and combo multiplier. It’s a testament to how seamlessly Hello Games has integrated the various gestures that you get a solid handle on them after just a few minutes of play.
Joe Danger’s trademark colour scheme – reds and greens so vivid that it’s easy to pretend you’re somewhere in the Mushroom Kingdom – look particularly stunning on retina-capable displays, and the Mario influence hardly ends there. Hills have smiley faces. There are half-buried horizontal green pipes to ride through. Even the animation of your bank of collected badges unlocking a new set of tracks sounds like star bits filling up a Hungry Luma.
The only sour note is the way the game keeps even the most skilled players at a severe leaderboard disadvantage until they’ve unlocked – or purchased – the final playable character. Using Golden Joe applies a 200 per cent bonus to both your score and coins accrued, and raises the maximum combo multiplier from the starting character’s x5 to a staggering x50. It’s hard to imagine Miyamoto ever stooping that low.