Game Review: White Trip (ホワイトトリップ)


A relaxing endless runner for iOS and Android devices that's set above a wintery mountain village allows you to take to the skies as a bird of prey and chase down other birds and animals to extend your run as you dodge obstacles in your path.

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 3 June 2019
Category: Review
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White Trip title screen

White Trip (ホワイトトリップ), by Japanese developer Appliss for iOS and Android devices, is a free endless runner in which you play as a bird of prey that flies above an randomly generated endless village that's located in a mountainous valley in which it is perpetually winter.

You have a time limit, which is noted by an indicator on the left of your screen that runs down to zero, at which point your bird will lose power and its flight will come to an end. To remain powered you have to aim for and touch yellowish/cream coloured birds and animals, which are also randomly scattered through the gameplay area and which will refill your time meter completely each time you successfully touch a creature, no matter how many seconds you have remaining.

You initially start with a timer bar that maxes out at just a few seconds but as you touch birds and animals you gain points that you can spend between runs to increase two attributes permanently: the timer's maximum amount (by one second per "purchase") and your maximum flying speed (by one metre per second per "purchase").

As you fly your distance is also measured. At the end of a run this contributes to a cumulative-distance score that eventually allows you to unlock new levels. If you do well enough you will also set a distance high score, which becomes your primary motivation for playing (bar the fact that it's just fun) once you've unlocked all the levels.

White Trip level 3

Each level you unlock offers a new "scene" for the village by using changes in light and colour to depict a different time of day and by adjusting the weather; while all the levels are set in winter some offer clear nights, while others present blinding white snow storms that make it difficult to see your prey or navigate safely.

Each level also offers a new animal for you to aim for and the selection varies widely, from a rabbit and an owl to an elk and a bear. While the default birds you can aim for are (usually) numerous they only give you 20 points, whereas the bonus animals give you many more points (rabbits are worth 80 points, while the bear is worth 300, for example).

Scoring points in White Trip

Besides the indicator in the top right of your screen, which you may not have time to look at, your distance is marked by a bell that rings every 500 metres. Every thousand metres or so the scene will change randomly to another one drawn from the selection that you have unlocked. The change is marked by a bell and is seamless - it's a particularly magical part of the game (unless you get one of the difficult scenes that offer poor visibility) and is really interesting to think about from a developer perspective as it's an easy way to keep a game diverse visually and vary the gameplay without necessarily having to develop more assets.

The graphics, which comprise simple three dimensional shapes rendered in real time, are gorgeous - the static screenshots don't really do them justice - and they are generated with very few problems. Occasionally there will be some brief visual artifacts or the view will jump slightly to the left or right as the display catches up with the processing but I've never had any of my games messed up by any of these minor issues. I've seen some people report a slight lag problem but I didn't personally experience it.

Flying through a forest in White Trip

Depleting the timer isn't the only way your run can end. You can crash into the buildings and trees if you aren't careful while you're flying or aiming for prey. There are also black birds of prey that appear in the distance and fly towards you. If they crash into you (and they will change direction to try) your game is also over and they have a habit, sometimes, of seemingly appearing out of nowhere so you have to be quick if you want to avoid them. You can't crash into the ground, however, so that's something you can use to your advantage, especially when aiming for prey, and some swift manoeuvres (especially vertically) will help to shake off the black birds... until the next flock appears.

The further you fly the harder the game does become as the usually numerous birds you can touch will thin out and you'll start to struggle to find animals on the ground that are in range. Increasing your time or speed, of course, will help with this (although a speed increase means you'll need better reactions) and ultimately will allow you to last longer in your runs. The black bird flocks will also become more numerous and if the scene switches to a particularly stormy setting you will have a harder time spotting your prey and navigating towards it in time.

Flying high in White Trip

You can select whether to control the bird either with touch or through tilt. I am absolutely useless at the tilt method, as it's quite sensitive and can get physically awkward, but found that the touch controls (on an Android phone, anyway) worked very well and I was even able to adjust the speed of the bird slightly as it flew.

Aiming, however, is another matter. It takes some practice and sometimes you will be sure that you were on target and yet you will somehow miss the creature, which can mean the difference between life and death for your bird if your timer is almost depleted. Yet at other times you will impress yourself with amazing feats, such as being able to touch the owl, which can only be found in a narrow steeple you'll have to fly through.

(Actually, an even more impressive, but rather annoying, feat is managing to fly through the steeple while missing the owl.)

Navigating trees and buildings in White Trip

If you crash or run out of time you can watch an ad once per run to extend it (effectively negating the crash) and as you get close to unlocking the next level you will also be given the opportunity to watch an ad to gain the necessary distance immediately that will unlock the level. Alternatively you can pay $1.99 to remove the ads altogether. However, since this is not a pay to win game, all of these options are just conveniences if you are impatient.

I must also mention the music, which, to me, is an integral part of the game and as important as the gameplay and graphics. It is upbeat and encouraging yet also relaxing and you'll feel compelled to play more just to be able to listen to it. The game's audio is very minimalistic, aptly matching the graphics, with just the bell sounds, a ping that lets you know you've successfully touched a creature, and whooshes that match your flight movements.

Version 1.4 of the game added a training mode, which essentially functions as an endless mode as there is no timer and your distance isn't tracked so you can't unlock levels, you can't earn points by touching animals, there is no increase in difficulty, and, if you crash, you just continue flying. It's the perfect Zen mode for those who find a run in the main game to be too short or stressful.

Light snow at night in White Trip

You can fly until you've finally had enough of playing for a while, although if you put in enough effort at the beginning of the main game in order to spend points to increase your timer by a few seconds you'll find it becomes much easier and far more enjoyable. You'll want to challenge yourself to unlock new levels and surpass the distance of your best run. Your primary nuisance will only be the slightly unpredictable black birds, which can quickly catch you unawares and end your game quite abruptly but that's part of the challenge.

White Trip is a wonderful, well balanced endless runner with enough appeal once you've unlocked everything for you still to dip into it occasionally to marvel at the graphics, enjoy the music, and play a few relaxing runs.

White Trip: App Store (iOS), Google Play (Android)
Appliss: Official Site, App Store, Google Play, Twitter


brainwavez.org Rating


8





Tags: Games


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