It all started about two months ago. Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco tweeted that someone had stolen his pregnant pigeon, followed by pictures of said bird and a series of follow-up tweets.
Long story short, the whole thing was later debunked – the photos were grabbed from Google and there were a number of holes in his story. What we were left with was apparently an odd call for attention.
But it turns out that’s also wrong. The scenario is actually the storyline of his second iPhone app, a game from Rock Software entitled Mad Chad ($0.99). I don’t know about you, but my brain hurts.
The game is an endless runner, with Ochocinco tracking down said pigeon thief across various locations. It’s a quirky story, but then again those have a history of success on iOS devices.
The first thing that pops out is the art design, which is surprisingly good. The cartoon-style graphics fit the oddball story, and some effort has been put into the backgrounds to differentiate each level.
The controls are very basic, with an up and down button controlling jumping over and sliding under obstacles. You can also tap an opponent to eliminate them, though it often feels like you have to do this a couple of times for the game to read it.
There isn’t much else to the controls, though double tapping the up button will allow you to do a somersault jump to avoid larger enemies. While it’s easy enough to learn how to control Chad it’s still a difficult game because you’re only allowed three mistakes before it’s game over.
The real problem is that there’s very little variance in game play – of course this is an endless runner and you could say that about almost all of them. Still, you’re doing the same thing over and over again, so this is the kind of game you’ll play in spurts, but not for a long period of time.
Another downside is that there’s a bug that shuts the app down when levels are loading, seemingly every three or so times you fail a level (and I failed a lot of levels). It’s nice that the gameplay is smooth, but this bug has to be fixed in a future update.
I know everyone won’t agree with me, but there’s something undeniably charming about Ochocinco and – once again – Rock Software has been able to translate that into his app. You should know going in that Mad Chad isn’t a revolutionary game, but a decent app for casual gamers that will appeal to a lot of people.