Wonder App of the Week: Does Not Commute for Android
“Ice cream man Hernandez is on his way to the general store to buy rodentcide.”
I have no idea what that means exactly, but apparently it was part of daily life in 1970s America. At least that’s according to Does not Commute, a unique and fun little free puzzle game recently released on Android.
At the start of each round in Does not Commute, you’re introduced to a small town driver running an errand. A brief sentence will tell you everything you need to know about the character, like Hernandez and his need for rat poison. Guiding him is a simple matter of pressing left or right on the screen. But after you get that first driver to their destination, another one shows up. He has to get to his destination while also avoiding the route you sent the previous driver on. More and more cars are added to the screen until eventually you’re trying to race around town while avoiding six previous versions of yourself and trying not to run out of time. It’s a little bit like Flight Control or Harbor Master, except you plan where all the vehicles go. That’s a change both for the better and the worse, as it’s very easy to lose a stage because you screwed yourself up. But fixing what you did wrong is part of what will keep you playing.
If there’s one downside to Does not Commute for Android, it’s that the controls are a little difficult to get used to. With cars coming onto the screen from all directions, it can be very easy to forget which button you’re supposed to press. Then again, that’s also part of the challenge. While Does not Commute is free to download, you can also upgrade for $2.99 which allows you to save checkpoints between levels. If you’re really into the game, it’s worth upgrading, but most gamers will probably have a good time with just the free version.
The graphics are a little plain, but if they were more complex that would make a game like this much more distracting and difficult to play. The environments remind me a bit of the art you would see on kid’s toys in the ’80s and ’90s. It’s a very hild-like representation of what a town looks like. Cars aren’t super detailed, but then again, this isn’t Gran Turismo either. There’s enough difference between vehicles though that you can tell when you’re driving a car, bus or scooter. Slight differences in handling help in that regard. You can also see just a little bit of damage on your vehicle when you crash into something.
No music plays during Does not Commute for Android, which is a bit of a disappointment. Some sort of catchy looping theme would have been a welcome addition. Cars sound decent enough, and make a nice little crashing noise when you smash into something. Again, it’s all very toy-like. Does not Commute isn’t going to win any awards for sound design, but what’s here gets the job done.
It may not have the staying power of an all-time classic, but for now Does not Commute for Android is a lot of fun in short bursts for gamers of all ages. It’s well worth the download for pretty much any Android gamer looking for a fun game that tries something a little different.