Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac | Developer: EA Sports | Publisher: Electronic Arts | ESRB: E
Unpossible is a sleek, sci-fi inspired, first-person runner that requires a reflexive twitch to avoid obstacles. The player races along a fiber-optic inspired tube and steers right or left to avoid obstacles.
Unpossible was released on iOS in 2014, receiving its fair share of critical acclaim. Some critics noted that the tilt controls were not as responsive as the touch controls. The tilt controls make it seem like you drift a bit, while the touch controls are very tight. I was curious to see which approach they took with the PC version of Unpossible, and it turns out the keypad controls are very tight and precise.
The game starts you out on a moderately difficult beginner level titled Simplicity. You’re going to eat it a few times before you put together a satisfying run. It doesn’t take long before you unlock the Futile difficulty though, which is achieved by lasting 60 seconds or longer in Simplicity. Futile is hard. It’s a high-speed thrill-ride that takes split-second reflexes to navigate. I died seven times before I made it 30 seconds into Futile. Achieving the full 60 second unlock time on a Futile course takes a lot of determination and persistence. The game overcomes this steep learning curve by being incredibly fun and addictive. It doesn’t feel like a chore when you’re grinding out run after run. The final difficulty is simply dubbed Ultra, and as far as I’m concerned it’s impossible. Ultra is the summit of Unpossible, and while climbing to it was tough enough, at this difficulty the sequence of obstacles changes, and the damn things spin, requiring you to re-learn to navigate the tube.
When you’re playing Simplicity, you’ll notice that some obstacles require a specific technique to avoid. On this difficulty you have more than enough time to react, but this luxury doesn’t exist past Simplicity. In the later courses, you’ll have to employ the techniques you’ve learned in the blink of an eye to get through Unpossible’s electrified gauntlet.
The courses are both exhilarating and beautiful. The obstacles include columns that protrude from the tube, winding staircases, and spiraling gates, to name a few. The tube is dark but illuminated by Tron-inspired lighting attached to the obstacles, a giant bright moon, and streams of electricity flowing through the tube. You’re moving along this tube FAST, which makes the lighting and the obstacles a visual spectacle as you twirl around the tube and beam through the course.
Unpossible is still a mobile game at heart, even on PC. It features a fairly narrow scope of gameplay common to the runner genre: one randomly generated course that increases in difficulty as you progress. The limited content is a real drag with a game this fun and it significantly reduces Unpossible’s shelf-life.
I had a good time playing Unpossible. The visuals are stunning, the music and sound are appropriate but not overwhelming, and the gameplay is exhilarating while maintaining a frustrating edge. It’s an addictive game that offers rage-quits by the fistful, but pulls you back for one more try.
This game was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the publisher.