Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
The most useful tip I ever got from a music teacher regarding “sight reading”—playing a piece of music you’ve never seen before—was to always read one note ahead. Once you’ve nailed down the basics of reading music, it’s never a single note that’s going to trip you up, but the unforeseen rhythms and changes that lie in wait. The same advice applies for Joe Danger Touch, the iOS incarnation of Hello Games’ dirt-bike daredevil series.
Joe Danger is a latter-day Evel Knievel type, and your job is to guide him through stunts with his skull in one piece. The individual obstacles that make up each stunt are trivial—a shark tank to jump here, a hurdle to duck there—but when strung together they can create a formidable finger-twisting lineup. If you keep your eyes on Joe as he speeds down the track, you’re sure to fail, or at least miss some of the many collectibles strewn throughout each level. You’ll want those collectibles; the more you get, the faster you can build up funds for new levels and powerful costumes. (Yes, you can also buy coins with real money, but it’s never a necessity. Play well and you’ll rack up all the funds you need.)
It’s just like reading a line of music, and your accompaniment in this case is not a piano but a disembodied stunt coordinator. He tries to lead you into the appropriate reaction for each stunt, but his squawks of “JUMP!” and “DUCK!” weren’t enough to goad me into the precise timing the game looks for. The solution, then, is to look to the obstacles ahead. When done right, it leads to Joe Danger Touch’s greatest of pleasures: the perfect run, a virtuosic solo of taps and slides.