How Far Can You Reach in Just 22 Seconds?

Jun 11, 2017

Mobile gaming is meant to be fast, easily accessible, and quickly learned – that’s what makes it so attractive to such a wide-ranging audience. 22 Seconds takes this idea to the extreme, however, and gives you the exact amount of time that the title implies to play it in. What ensues is frantic swiping, chaotic bouncing, and a lot of head-in-hands frustration.

The premise is simple: swipe your finger on the screen to direct a ball as far as you can through narrow passages and moving shapes. Whatever the ball comes in contact with it bounces off, meaning it’s often hard to control the direction it goes in. As you chaotically guide the object, your goal is to beat your own distance record, which is also uploaded on a world leader board. You have just those 22 seconds to do so until you start the game again.

Along the way are green gems: collect 100 of these and you’ll unlock a new, random ball, ranging from a basketball to an orange. The differences in visuals have no effect on the gameplay, and all patterns will react the same way as the standard ball. This game isn’t about gaining power-ups or any similar advantages; it’s about perfecting those 22 seconds on a level playing field.

It will come as no surprise that 22 Seconds is fiendishly difficult. Manoeuvring the ball around static barriers is very hard, with the pathways often being so narrow that it ends up bouncing back and forth, making no progress. But then the rotating shapes appear, and you’re forced not only to perfect the angle at which you swipe your finger, but the timing of it also. A poorly-timed decision can result not only in the ball stopping completely, but being sent back from where it came. This is in no way a criticism of the game but a warning for the easily-frustrated – perhaps this isn’t for you.

This is in no way a criticism of the game but a warning for the easily-frustrated – perhaps this isn’t for you.

What makes the game so addictive is that it seems so simple to crack: the map changes but recycles the same features, so nothing is so new as to throw you off-guard; pathways seem wider than they actually are; it only takes a swipe of the finger to play. With the first few 22 seconds you play you begin to feel a sense that you’re bettering your game, and that next round you’ll definitely beat your score. Inevitably, though, you’ll reach a point where you just can’t seem to go any further, and that’s for one simple reason: the game is as much about luck as it is skill. This is where the frustration sets in, and it will keep showing up every 22 seconds.

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The lack of unlockable items and collectibles – with the exception of gems and visually-unique balls – is justified by the game’s premise. It doesn’t need anything else in its gameplay apart from simplicity; after all, it will only take you 22 seconds to play. It’s more a question of how many times your patience can see you through that short space of time than anything else. The app is available on Android and iPhone.

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