Slide the Shakes Review

Brings All the Boys to the Yard

Slide the Shakes

Sometimes it's the simplest games that prove the most challenging. Take Slide the Shakes, for instance. The sophomore effort from Australia's PrettyGreat, Slide the Shakes is as straightforward as they come. Players just need to slide a milkshake to a certain spot on the bar, pulling back to determine the power of the slide in order to land it in that sweet spot.

But nothing is ever that easy, is it?

Slide the Shakes ramps up the challenge in a number of ways. The most obvious of these happens in the actual gameplay. Levels are designed with plenty of obstacles to adjust for. Sometimes this means calculating your strength to climb or descend a vertical section of the bar. Other times this means factoring in different substances like slippery ice and sticky gum. You'll even have to jump across gaps, trying to land safely on a counter on the opposite side of the screen. 

Let's face it: Tom Cruise was impressive in Cocktail, but he's got nothing on you.

So it's tough?

Maybe "tough" isn't the right word, but it's definitely challenging. Slide the Shakes is pretty forgiving when it comes to letting you try objectives over and over again, but it has a very clever way of punishing your worst attempts. Each level is broken up into a series of smaller stages, and you'll need to complete all of them without breaking your glass.

Every other sort of failure is tolerated, but if you go right off the end of the bar, you'll have to restart the level at stage one. And there are plenty of stages where you'll go smashing into the floor.

To capitalize on this, you'll occasionally be offered three free tries on a stage in exchange for watching a video advertisement.

It's a clever way to monetize the game, and while I can't help but groan a little, I don't think I've turned down this opportunity yet. Whenever the chance for a trio of free tries has come up, it's usually because I've needed it.

I think I'd prefer drinking milkshakes to sliding them

Why not do both? In addition to unlocking a new milkshake to play with every five levels, you'll be given a recipe for that milkshake that gets added to a collection. A real, actual milkshake recipe. And they sound delicious. From Jelly Donut shakes to fruity treats (that seem closer to a smoothie), the team at PrettyGreat aren't just pretty great at making games - they're also pretty great in the kitchen.

These drinks aren't just great in real life, either. While the art style in Slide the Shakes is kept fairly low key, the game's physics help every drink come to life. As you slide your shake across the counter, you might see its straw (or cookie garnish) bounce around in reaction to the maneuvers. Sometimes they'll even fall out of the drink completely. And there are few things that induce anxiety quite as well as watching your drink teetering at a 45-degree angle, terrified that you'll see it fall and watch its contents spill out onto the bar.​

Do I need to play it?

There's nothing particularly ground-breaking about Slide the Shakes. Pull and fire mechanics have been popular on the App Store since the days of Angry Birds, and aiming for a specific spot is similar to side-scrolling golf games like Desert Golfing or Stickman Golf. And yet there's something distinctly refreshing about this one, and I don't just mean the recipes that come with it.

Slide the Shakes tones down the production values from PrettyGreat's previous effort, Land Sliders, and it feels a little like a passionate side project as a result. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Slide the Shakes had graduated from an internal game jam, or was a pet project someone had been fleshing out in their spare time.

Sometimes, though, projects with origins like these are the ones that are given the most care. And with top-notch level design and clever recipe cards found throughout, Slide the Shakes easily falls into the category.

If you're looking for a tasty challenge (with even tastier rewards), Slide the Shakes is an iPhone game that's well worth a look.

Slide the Shakes is available on the App Store.

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