There has always been a place for games with very basic controls, especially in the mobile gaming space. The "one button" game is almost a genre in itself, where you have a character running from something, and have to time the press of that button to get out the way of the obstacles in time. Tsotsi is definitely in that genre, but it doubles the complexity on offer to the user. It has two buttons!
Version Reviewed: 18.104.22.168
This constantly side scrolling game sees no enemies chasing you, no nasty earthquake, or exploding sun to catch you out. You're just running in the rain. As you run, you'll find out that all you can touch is the ground. Forget about jumping over the obstacles and landing on top of them to keep running, when you tap that "jump" button on the right of the screen, you'd better clear that obstacle cleanly (even if you have to hold it down for more height), or it's game over - you've only got one life, make it count.
No hitting your head on the top of a gap either. Now that might mean a well timed jump to go through a gap, or using the button on the left of the screen marked "slide" which lets you duck underneath obstacles and sneak through gaps that would normally decapitate you - all while keeping up the same running speed over the ground.
And that's all there is to Tsotsi. The code works well, there is a true sense of speed and physics in the game, but running games at the end of 2011 need more than good physics. Yes, it has one of the three elements (physics that feels right), but Tsotsi has neither the addictive nature to keep me coming back for "one more game", nor does it have a suitable way of measuring my progress against others.
The basic high score table gives you the best five scores (distance run), but no other information. Time and date of the best runs would be a good thing to add here, and I can't help thinking that an online high score table, or a way to compare your runs to those of your friends would lift Tsotsi out of the "nice" bucket and into the "competitive" bucket.
I'd love to see a polished improvement in a later version. At the moment, Tsotsi is a curiosity, albeit one that has moments of fun, but it could be so much more.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at