We all take risks in life. Should we put on our solid or paisley tie? Do we eat that last wafer-thin mint? Should we attempt to grab that shiny penny on the ground even though it's resting on glowing coals surrounded by man-eating robotic land sharks with lasers, floating in a red lake of steaming hot lava? The developer Sijaf certainly knows risks, having developed the colorful platform jumping game Rock n' Risk back in April. Now Sijaf's follow-up title called Survive 'n' Risk takes his stickman concept to the next level, adding avoidance gameplay to the mix along with jumping attributes, power-ups, and hats. Lots of hats.
Unsurprisingly, the point of Survive 'n' Risk is to, well, survive and take risks. Your stickman earns points and cash by lasting a minute or more in an arena of death, filled with a raucous crowd, a JumboTron, funky music, and the familiar manic "dude" announcer praising your moves. Controls take advantage of both the mouse and keyboard this time, making it easier to jump from platform to platform while avoiding various flying enemies, projectiles, killer robot dogs, and the obligatory pit o' spikes. Like before, you can click to employ a parachute to slow down your descents, or double click to send your stickman zipping to your mouse's location. To avoid overuse, these skills now require energy, which recharges when not in use. Like in Rock 'n' Risk, you can choose to make the stages more difficult (and riskier) by adding more time, less platforms, more enemies, or fewer lives. More risk means more cash if you complete the stage, and more cash means more hats.
Hats and minigames are new additions to Survive 'n' Risk. Your stickman's jumping, floating, and energy abilities are affected by the type of stylish headgear he wears. Cash lets you buy one of three different "hat boxes," each randomly containing at least 2 hats of increasing rarity. There are dozens of kitschy hats, many with clever names (a plunger hat is called "Mario's Tool"). Some levels are made much easier or harder depending on what hat you happen to be wearing at the time. Additionally, the game features optional minigames in between levels to earn more cash. These games require you to grab as much cash as possible, and can get progressively harder the longer you survive.
Some survival games can be too easy, too hard, or just plain boring. Thankfully Survive 'n' Risk is none of these; With its improved controls, deeper gameplay, and variable difficulty, the game can actually leave you feeling a sense of accomplishment, especially after narrowly beating a level with all the risks attached. The game's groovy soundtrack, smooth animation, and humorous headwear are a plus, and though it might have benefitted from more levels, moving platforms, and maybe a storyline, I think I can say (without too much risk) that Survive 'n' Risk is a fun distraction and a solid casual game.