This is one of the most tense, frustrating, devious and, bafflingly, moreish PlayStation Minis we've played to date.
The concept is simple: jump over hazards to complete the level. How hard can it possibly be? The clue's in the name. Controlling a straight-forward orange square you must hop over triangles and across carefully placed blocks to avoid hitting a deadly black border at the bottom of the screen. And that's it.
A delightful synthesia soundtrack accompanies your movements, adding a rhythm action backdrop to the gameplay. And then you die for the first time and you notice a big "ATTEMPT 2" icon at the top of the screen. So you try again. Dead. ATTEMPT 3. Again. Dead. ATTEMPT 4. Again. Dead. ATTEMPT 5. Grumble, again. Dead. ATTEMPT 6. Again. Ooooh, got a bit further that tim--Dead. ATTEMPT 7. Again...
While the above paragraph sounds about as fun as sticking cocktail sticks in your eyes, The Impossible Game's replay system makes it hard to put down. You're unlikely to last longer than 45 seconds per attempt, but the moment you die the game instantly restarts you making it a trance like test of perseverance. "I'm going to beat you Impossible Game," you'll mutter to yourself amongst curses and self-harm.
What the game does brilliantly is constantly make you feel like you're on the cusp. Levels are long, and so become almost puzzle like. Death is barely a hindrance, so you're constantly learning how to get further into the level. "So I jump there, then pause, then jump, then oh," you'll say to yourself, "But I'll get it next time. Right. So I jump there, then pause, then jump, then jump, then pause, then oh..." You can even plomp down flags to enter a practice mode which lets you create your own checkpoints. But hey, if you want to progress to the next level, you'll need to do so without using a checkpoint. One perfect run, with one life.
And perhaps that's an indication of why the game has so few levels. It took us more than 800 attempts to beat the first level. (Thankfully the game keeps statistics for stuff like that.)
There's also medals to collect, but the crux of The Impossible Game is in its level design. The game's tough — unnervingly so at times — but it never ceases to dangle the metaphorical carrot. It also epitomises what's great about PlayStation Minis — simplistic time-killing experiences at low prices.
Like a rubbish girlfriend, The Impossible Game is unbearable at times. But you'll still keep going back for more.