Over the years, I’ve stepped away from Doritos. It all really started when I got seriously ill the day Obama was first sworn into office–not because, just using that day in history to place you in the moment–and ended up vomiting a lot back in my teeny, tiny studio apartment before passing out for hours in bed while FX continuously played Troy for like six to eight hours. It was a nightmare. And I had eaten some Doritos Cool Ranch chips earlier for lunch that day, and well…they weren’t any better coming up. Ever since then, I’ve fully stayed away from all things Cool Ranch–called Cool American in Sweden, something I learned recently from Giant Bomb–but have, on occasion, enjoyed a Nacho Cheese chip now and then.
But I’m not here to just talk about chips. Doritos does other stuff, too. Like videogames. Well, they support folks making games and use their name to brand it. If you’ll recall with me, back in late 2010, a game called Doritos Crash Course was released for free on the Xbox 360. It was surprising, for sure, an energetic mix of timed platforming and region-related spectacle, but fun all around. As well as free. It’s now been a couple years, and we’re getting the sequel for free too, though it has changed quite dramatically, even if it looks and–for the most part–tastes the same.
Instead of having levels based around specific regions like the United States or Japan, they are now built thematically. The first one is a jungle, maybe Mayan-based. And the second one appears to be snowy. Don’t know what the other two look like. Originally, your goal was simply to get to the end of the course in the best time, avoiding pitfalls along the way; now, as you run left to right, you can collect Stars, tackle secondary objectives, and use alternate paths to get to the end faster and much more successfully. Stars are used to purchase things outside of the level–these can be Avatar accessories, which do come with a stat and flavor text, or additional levels, side paths, and jinxes. And then this is where Doritos Crash Course 2 shows its free-to-play side, with you being able to buy additional Stars with real money. Well, real money that you turn into Microsoft Points. But still: microtransactions.
Just like in Happy Wars, I can easily ignore all the FTP gimmicks until it gets in my way of actually playing the game. So far, that hasn’t happened, though it looks like I’ve have to return to previously completed courses to find hidden stars if I want enough to unlock more levels. No big deal. I just don’t want to have to pay for power-ups or extra Stars in hope of progressing forward. The game suffers from tiny text syndrome, which makes reading some of the level requirements and secondary objectives dang difficult, but when in full screen, the game is pretty and runs smoothly. You can now run up walls, too, which I don’t remember being in the original, and it can be tricky, though Tara found a way to squirrel hop from wall to wall which is pretty effective. Hey, we also played some local multiplayer, too, which zooms out extremely far, but we were still able to run and climb with the best of ‘em.
Looking forward to checking out more. Oh, and it is still a ton of fun to slide down a slope, jump to a trampoline, and fly over some deadly obstacle to finish in first place. Mostly because my Avatar whips out an electric guitar and jams.