Surfy is a new mobile game by Australian developers DreamWalk, inspired by old school classic California Games (recently returned to the spotlight by JonTron). As the name suggests, the game focuses on surfing, using an endless runner style mechanic, which extra points awarded for landing jumps and avoiding obstacles like birds and whales.
The controls are simple enough, tap left to turn left (or move up) and tap right to turn right (or move down). The one that always slips me up, however, is the control for performing tricks. If you rise out of the water with enough speed, a little wheel will appear in the upper left hand corner of the screen. The tutorial instructs you to “land jumps by spinning to the green marker,” but then don’t really explain how you’re meant to do that (I’ll admit the animation does give a hint, but I missed it the first 30 times I watched it) so I kept reaching up my left thumb to try to manually spin the thing into the green, which is impossible.
Even after I figured out that you could spin the dial either way by holding down the left or right sides, it was still very difficult to land jumps as you needed to be right in the middle of the green area for it to count. Not to mention the fact that the tutorial tells you to “hold the arrows to turn,” when tapping them usually does the trick.
Despite these frustrations, I did manage to play close to 100 times, even if I never got very far.
I did like the fact that you could choose from 4 different surfers right off the bat and that they included both boys and girls of colour. While the game is free to play, you can purchase in-app currency with real world money. This currency can then be used to buy power-ups or unlock better boards. Boards can also be unlocked by successfully completing challenges.
While lacking in depth, Surfy is a welcome distraction and the challenge of successfully completing jumps definitely adds to the replay value. There is also a multiplayer option available by linking your Facebook account, although I didn’t get a chance to try it out myself.
Surfy is available for free on iTunes.
*Full Disclosure: While the game is available for free I was furnished with a pre-release copy by the developers. All opinions are my own.