Finally, a car game that rewards thoughtful driving and planning ahead but still has room for cool jumps and time travel. But will it drive you up the wall or over the moon?
Does Not Commute is a top-down driving game in which you control multiple interweaving vehicles in heavy traffic. It seamlessly incorporates elements of strategy, puzzle and simulation gaming into a highly original vintage-flavored stew. Oh, and it’s pretty funny too.
The concept is simple but brilliant: one driver at a time, you control a series of quirky suburbanites going about their weird personal business in a small 1970s town. The twist is that every vehicle moves simultaneously, meaning after each successful commute you have an extra character to avoid on the road. As the ghosts of your previous turns stack up, the game very quickly descends into glorious commuter chaos with more than a dozen frantically interweaving drivers. All controlled by you.
Each level represents a new part of town and must be completed within a time limit. If the clock reaches zero, it’s game over. There are time bonuses scattered around the level which can increase the timer, and finishing one level quickly will mean you have more time to spare on the next. It starts serenely enough, but by the last level time is tight and you’ll have to drive efficiently to succeed.
Each driver has a different vehicle: sports cars, motorbikes, ice cream vans, ambulances, stretch limos. You drive them all, and they each take some getting used to. Luckily the controls are straightforward: tap on the left side of the screen to steer left, and – you guessed it – right to steer right. The game is partly driving skill but plays out more like a puzzle that you can learn and improve at through just the right combination of careful planning and reckless driving.
Eventually upgrades are unlocked which allow you to improve your car on a turn-by-turn basis: turbo, traction control and armor all have their uses. There’s also a ‘practice mode’ unlocked halfway through which allows you to test-drive routes for free before driving them for real.
Before taking charge of each commute, you’re treated to a pithy one-line description of the current character and their thoughts. Surprisingly, these blurbs are one of the highlights of the game: consistently amusing, often bizarre and never too long. The diverse cast includes an identity thief, a federal investigator, a speedboat-driving toddler, and a dangerously unhinged dentist with a penchant for scientific experimentation.
The game is free, with no ads in sight, but one little caveat: to activate checkpoints between levels you have to pay a one-off upgrade fee of $1.99 (£1.49) for the premium version. Strictly speaking the whole game can be completed for free, but without the save system you’re going to end up replaying the tutorial level a lot of times.
What more can we say? The 3D graphics are beautifully rendered, with great lighting and a vintage filter that perfectly matches the laid back jazz soundtrack. Does Not Commute is a well polished game dripping with character. Considering the free-to-try price structure, we’d be mad not to recommend you give this game a try. In fact, we recommend you dive straight in and pay for premium – we’re confident this is one driving game that’s sure to be up everyone’s alley.
Price: Free or $1.99 (£1.49) for Premium
Size: 55.4 MB
Developer: Mediocre AB