Spoilers: The road is, in fact, possible. Yes, it’s another example of flagrant false advertising and the sort of thing that gives this fine hobby an ill reputation. No, we’re joking. Of course we’re joking. It’s not impossible to traverse, it’s impossible to build. A road free-floating in space on which giant balls (stop giggling) roll and race for intergalactic supremacy. So far, so Iggy’s Reckin’ Balls, but Rogue Games’ Super Impossible Road takes this Elon Musk vision of a dystopian future (trust us, it’s what he wants) and rolls with it. Get it? That was another joke.
Alright, we’ve had our fun – now for some fun. Super Impossible Road, if you’ll excuse the cynicism, elicited a bit of a groan from this writer on its assignment. It’s just not the most auspicious-sounding title, is it? It dredges up cursed memories of terrible autorunners and hi-larious “masocore” flash games offering vaguely similar experiences. But this is different – this is genuinely pretty good stuff. Polished, varied and compelling, with plentiful features raising the game far above the quality we expected.
Essentially, you’re rolling a Morph Ball-looking sphere down a steep slope. Think Super Monkey Ball, but different in almost every way right down to the less weighty, much looser controls. This sounds like a bad thing, but it isn’t – the courses, such as they are, have no (or almost no) safety barriers, so you’ll be wanting that instant response time in order to avoid plummeting. Every few seconds you’ll roll through a checkpoint and, should you fall off the track, hitting the ‘X’ button at any time will reset you to the last one you hit.
But – but – BUT, falling off the track isn’t necessarily the disaster it may seem, as you’re able to “steer” in mid-air and orient yourself with a lower portion of the course. If you can land on it (and recover from the subsequent hard bounce off the surface), you’ll have quite simply skipped a sizeable portion of the stage. This isn’t free of restrictions, though; as you’ll fall, the screen will gradually begin to fade out and, if it manages to fade to black, you’ll reset to your last checkpoint. This adds a brilliant sense of risk-reward to the proceedings as you’ll wonder if you can make that drop, not to mention the pure tension and endorphin rush of a screen that’s juuuuust reached pitch black only to SNAP back on as you hit the floor as the last possible second. There’s also the balance of dodging checkpoints with actively needing the speed boost they confer upon you, accessed by hitting the ‘B’ button.
There are plenty of modes to enjoy here, most prominently the online multiplayer which allows public and private rooms. Taking your learned game out into the world is a rush, even when you realise everyone’s ten times better than you — cross-platform multiplayer is apparently in the works for next year. The central career mode is a blast, too, with its different challenge types each teaching you different skills that you’ll need for the main racing events. Ring runs that see you rolling through, well, rings, checkpoint gates that you have to skip — it’s all clever stuff.
Marry this simple but full-featured gameplay with an enormous skill ceiling to the rock-solid 60 fps frame rate and you’re onto something of a winner. There’s even a Daily Track mode so you never need to stop. Super Impossible Road is a strong effort and a pleasant surprise.