Dumb Ways to Die
by Metro Trains
operating system: android also available for iOS | price: FREE | size: 34 mb | category: Casual

BY TINA URCH | Dumb Ways to Die is by far my new favorite time waster. What began as a public service announcement campaign by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia to promote safety around trains is now an addictive game for iOS and Android. I highly recommend checking out the original video at dumbwaystodie.com. The iOS game was launched in May 2013 and followed up by the Android version in September.

The goal is to collect an adorable cast of creatures for your railway platform. This is achieved by playing a series of quick games and collecting enough points to unlock a new character. Each round of the game gives you three lives before you die and have to start over. The various quick games require you to save a character from dying in a “dumb” way such as carefully removing a fork from a toaster to avoid electrocution, flicking away bees from a character’s face, wiping up vomit before your character slips on it, ducking away from a hungry bear, and many more.

All of the games involve interaction with your screen such as flicking, tapping, swiping, and even blowing. I never realized your phone could feel you blowing on the screen before; that makes this game all the more cool right there. To succeed you need to have a speedy reaction time and the ability to quickly figure out what to do to win each game. The 15 mini-games are repeated randomly and with varying speeds on the time limit allowing you to improve at each game over time.

The game’s adorable graphics and kid friendly color scheme make it a surefire hit for all ages. Although there is some debate that the message of safety is dulled, and maybe even undermined, by the cuteness. When the video first came out many critics said that instead of encouraging safety around trains it highlighted various effective methods of suicide. Russia even banned the video from being shown through YouTube.

The only complaint I have about the game so far is more of an issue with my phone. Sometimes it won’t feel my poke, swipe or flick if I don’t execute it just right causing my character to die even though I reacted with appropriate speed. Not the end of the world though since there is no true starting over in this game; once you’ve collected a character for your platform you can’t lose it again. You will simply lose a round and have to start over on your quest to unlock another creature.

Overall I’m a big fan of this game and I highly recommend checking it out as a way to fill random moments of boredom that may occur. Oh, and I suggest you be very good at spelling the word “patience” before you begin. You’ll see why…