Impossible Road: a game that redefines minimalism

Impossible Road 2Casual arcade games offer a great way to pass the time. They are usually simple games that you can pick up and play and not feel bad about setting back down at a moment’s notice. When you are in the mood for a casual game, the simple ones are the best.

IMPOSSIBLE ROAD is a simple casual game that requires very little thought, but might drive you mad. Although minimalistic in design, this game is anything but easy…


What caught my eye when I first saw this game in the App Store was the design. The stark white background and blue curved lines looked incredible in the New and Noteworthy section and I had to investigate.

The entire app is precisely the way you’d imagine it. From the opening splash page to end game’s score, it is full of solid blue lines and bright white backgrounds. The white ball matches the background exactly. It blends in so well that, at times it is difficult to see it. Especially if you fall off the edge, which you most definitely will.

To start playing the game, touch the screen. There are no instructions. The game just starts. There are two gray arrows, one on either side of the screen. The arrows control your side-to-side movement. As you race along the track, touch the left or right arrow to veer in a different direction.

There are gates to pass along the track. These gates increase your score. The more you pass, the better your score is.

If you fall off of the track you can try to get back on to keep going. However, if you don’t aim right, you will continue dropping away from the track and the game will end. You will be scored based on the number of gates you passed.

Impossible Road 3

Game Play

The game starts immediately. The ball will begin rolling at top speed. The track is made up of hairpin turns, hills, dips, and twists. There are no guardrails to keep your ball on the track and the flat surface offers no grip whatsoever. Basically, you aren’t going to be able to stay on the track for very long at all.

However, staying on the track is not the only way to earn points. In fact, you can usually earn more points by aiming your fall off of the track so that you land on it again further down.

You earn the same number of points for passing gates whether you are on the track or falling past it. You just have to land back on the track to score.

When you fall off, you can still control the direction that the ball goes, even if you can’t actually see it.  You can see the track in the distance and gauge your aim by rotating left to right. If you are successful the ball will bounce off of the track and you will have to try to land on it again. However, at this point, you will have earned points for the gates you passed on the way down. So even if you don’t land on the track after the bounce, you will still earn points.

The ball rolls too fast. The left-right arrows are too sensitive to properly navigate at that speed. This was obviously not designed to let you stay on the track. The goal of the game is to pass the gates. So, don’t even waste time trying to accomplish it the proper way. Just jump off and see where the ball takes you.

When you do jump or fall off, you will have a limited amount of time before your ball will be considered lost in space. If you don’t touch the track again under six seconds, the game is over. Even if the track starts to disappear (a telling sign that you are about to lose the game) you can still make it if you land on the track at five seconds. If you are a fraction of a second too late, the game ends.

When the game is over, you will see your total score, plus the number of times you jumped and your best jump.

Once your game ends, you can immediately try again by tapping the screen. The fast-paced roller-coaster of doom starts all over again.

Impossible Road 1

The Good

This app is great for hardcore gamers looking for a casual game to pass the time. By that I mean, it is very difficult to play and hardcore gamers love to take on the challenge of something that others claim are too hard to play. If you think that you have excellent skills with a controller, you do not want to miss this game. It will either make you feel like you’ve got “you-know-whats” of steel, or it will turn you into a blubbering mound of jelly.

The Bad

I’m not kidding when I say this is a very difficult game to play. I wanted to throw my iPad across the room after about 20 seconds. That was after failing at least five times. I wanted to give up in frustration so bad, but I knew that some of our readers would just make fun of me for being so weak-willed. It was only after realizing that you still earn points for passing the gates when you fall off the tracks that I decided to attempt the new tactic.

The game is still nearly impossible to play, even when you do figure out the trick. To give you an idea of how hard it was for me, today’s high scores in Game Center were around 375 points. The most points I earned were 12.


At $1.99, this game is twice what it is worth. However, an indie game developer created it and I am a huge proponent of supporting small businesses. So, even though it is a bit over priced at $1.99, just consider the extra dollar a way to help one man make his dream of creating “super polished small games with an original gameplay twist” come true. It is worth that much.


My challenge is this, if you think you can handle the heat that comes off of this game, I want to know your high score in the comments below. IMPOSSIBLE ROAD is available for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad for $1.99. Download it in the App Store today.