Dumb Ways to Die 3: World Tour – Dumbed-down but still enjoyable

Jan 22, 2018
Arcade

Dumb Ways to Die 3: World Tour is the latest game tie-in for a railway safety campaign that went viral in 2012. It starred cute bean-shaped characters encountering comically violent mishaps. The message was that, although situations like using your junk as piranha bait are dumb ways to die, being unsafe around railways is the dumbest. While the third app in the series is still fun to play, some significant changes have made it a diminished return. 

Those accident-prone bean buffoons have trashed their cities, and the player must repair buildings by spending tokens and completing minigame objectives. Hitting a certain number of repairs will unlock a new minigame and location. The gameplay has changed from previous instalments, and it’s not for the better. The original Dumb Ways to Die was a WarioWare-style bombardment of varied, zany microgames, and the first sequel expanded on this. But now the microgames have been scrapped; encounters that would have previously been tiny challenges have been drawn out into minigames. And there’s only four of them. It’s like if your favourite sushi restaurant decided they just want to make mediocre burgers instead. Some quality has been lost in Dumb Ways to Die 3, and the grinding required to unlock the minigames just makes the app feel like an obvious vehicle for microtransactions and ads.

It’s like if your favourite sushi restaurant decided they just want to make mediocre burgers instead.

The minigames aren’t terrible, just uninspired. The first three were played for this review. In each, the aim is to survive for as long as possible and collect tokens. Flying Fiasco is a bit like Flappy Bird but less annoying. The hazards include hot air balloons and egg-dropping birds. Just think, if those eggs are fertilized, the birds are literally sacrificing their unborn children to attack those bean guys. That’s some serious hatred right there. Snow Safari is a ski challenge where the user must slalom past alpine hazards and penguins. I’m sensing a theme here – perhaps an avian conspiracy against the beans? To be fair, they are wrecking the place! There’s also Pyramid Run, which is a pretty standard tomb-dashing auto-runner. These minigames are fun to a certain extent, but they lack imagination. And there’s an absence of the unusual forms of interaction found in the previous games – like when the player had to use a steady finger to remove a fork from a toaster. Here you just tap or hold down on the screen to move the character in what are quite unoriginal levels. The first three minigames are challenging and well-designed for what they are, but they just don’t adequately represent the identity of the series. The last one, called Space Drift, might be amazing, but it was beyond the progress made for this review.

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There are plenty of unlockables along the way. New characters can be awarded by progress or from loot boxes, and some have special abilities that are beneficial in the minigames. Loot boxes can also reward costume items such as devil horns. Sorry, but there’s just no way to make these cute little beans look menacing.

Visually, the game is vibrant, and the soundtrack is lively and varied. Some of the series’ macabre humour is still present in the game, such as when the beans get frozen or bisected, but it’s a shame to lose the funny death animations from the microgames of the past.

We also need to talk about the ads. Unless you’re the Monopoly guy and like to spend real money on apps, to get anywhere fast in this game you’ll have to sit through a lot of ads. And by ‘sit through’, I mean put your phone down while they play. Ads can be encountered when you begin or exit a game, if you want to speed things up, open a free loot container, get a score boost, scratch your nose. Ok, that last one was a lie, but you get the idea. They’re almost everywhere, and some of them are quite long.

Dumb Ways to Die 3: World Tour is quirky and cheerful, but the gameplay and humour have suffered by moving away from the microgame format of the first two titles. While there are plenty of challenges and unlockables, the first three minigames are rather generic. They’re fun up to a point, but may not be exciting enough to keep players at the grind. The free version of the game also has a lot of ads. If this instalment isn’t a success, the gameplay changes may prove a dumb way for the series to die.

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Our Rating

ProsCons
Quirky and quite fun. Lovely visuals and sound. Plenty of challenges and unlockables. Minigames are uninspired. Too many ads in free version.
Rating
6/10
Dumb Ways To Die 3: World Tour
Dumb Ways To Die 3: World Tour
Developer:
Price: Free+
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