Whether you’re an adventurous and daring backpacker, or just a backpacker at heart, this educational, yet oddly addicting and entertaining game might be one to add to your app collection.
The “Backpacker” game (Apple | Android) takes you around the world as you’re faced with typical challenges that a backpacker faces on a daily basis. Finding jobs, budgeting for hotels (or sleeping on the streets), avoiding pickpocketers and collecting souvenirs are all part of your journey through the life as a virtual backpacker.
I’m quite an experienced backpacker myself and my initial thought before playing this game was ‘why would I need to play as a virtual Backpacker when I’m already well travelled in reality?’
To my surprise, it tested my knowledge as to what I’ve already learned from being on the road. You earn bonus tickets for answering questions right in the game, and many of these questions I was able to answer from the experiences I’ve already had on the road. So, not only was it the perfect game to keep me busy while waiting for the next bus or that 3-hour layover in the airport, but it brought back many wild and awesome memories from previous experiences I’ve had around the world.
Why don’t I walk you through the first virtual destination I visited?
Once the game had begun, I was invited to choose my first destination, Washington D.C or Rome. I chose Rome (I’m a big Europe fan, sorry America).
Because this was my first virtual city as a backpacker, there was a travel guide that took me through the city of Rome introducing me to the various challenges I would have to complete before heading to my next destination.
What were the challenges?
Finding a job: most backpackers start off with a chunk of cash to travel with throughout their journey, but at some point, finding a job is key to make sure you can make it through to the next day. The local newspaper icon or the tourism board in the virtual cities will help you find available jobs. Once you’ve been hired, you’ll have to prove your skills in order to obtain a diploma and generate some cash for your trip.
Finding somewhere to sleep: just like real life, you’ll have a few different options. You can choose between 3 different hotel rooms (all at different price points) or you can choose to sleep on the street. The catch is that if you choose to sleep on the street, you run the risk of getting robbed. In order to prevent a robbery, you can purchase travel items like pepper spray or a panic alarm to ward off the robbers. These items might cost more than a hotel stay, but there is potential that if you don’t get robbed (leaving you with an empty can of pepper spray), then you’ll be able to use them and save money sleeping another night on the street.
Helping local citizens: you can make money or gain tickets (for attractions) by helping locals around the city. In my first trip to Rome, I helped a woman cross the street and she rewarded me with a bit of cash. A local pizzeria owner also paid my boat trip to my next destination, London, England, so I could drop off a gift to his friend in London. Because I needed to remember this favour I agreed to, it is documented at the side of the screen as a reminder until you’ve completed the task.
Visiting all the local hotspots: before leaving a city, you are challenged to check off all the local hotspots you planned on visiting. By doing so, you are rewarded with extra tickets to more local hotspots and souvenirs that you can use as gifts or purchases later in the game. The trick is that you aren’t just visiting the hotspot, you are learning about the hotspot from a local tour guide and then asked a few questions at the end of the tour in order to gain your free souvenir and potential bonus tickets.
Filling up my Rome passport: While you might not necessarily have to completely fill up your city passports before finding a way to head onto the next city, filling your entire passport will award you with more money and more tickets for other hotspots around the world. Want to know what’s in your passport?
What’s in Your Passport?
Completed Sights: You’ll need to check out a few sights while you’re visiting your first city. For me, it was the Fontana Di Trevi, the Olympic Stadium and the Colosseum. You gain souvenirs and additional hot spot tickets for completing these visits.
Completed Diplomas: In your first city, you’ll need to try and get 3 different job diplomas while you’re there. Each one of your successful jobs will be documented in your passport (and you’ll gain a good lump sum of money to continue onward). There are more than 389 diplomas to complete throughout the game, so you better get learning!
City Questions: Answering city questions is one of the easiest and quickest ways to make some extra money while you’re exploring the city. You’ll have the opportunity to click on question marks around the city where you will be asked one question at a time. If you get the questions right, you’ll be rewarded. In Rome, I was tasked with answering a minimum of 25 city questions.
Documented Days: You don’t have to complete your passport, and no one is forcing you to stay in one city for more than a day, so an additional challenge in your passport is to spend a certain minimum number of days in each city. In Rome, I was challenged to spend a total of 2 days in the city before moving on. If I completed this task, I would be rewarded with additional funds for my trip.
Other Surprise Goodies: There’s also a section in your passport which challenges you to new and different scenarios and games as you travel around the world. In Rome, I was challenged to help an old lady across the street, in London I was challenged to buy the Stonehenge stone in the gift shop.
What’s in Your Backpack?
What’s in your backpack will totally depend on what you’ve decided to purchase or find along your travels. Here’s what you’ll find in my backpack:
Panic Alarm: In Rome, I was quite keen on finding new ways to sleep on the street and save a few bucks, so I purchased a panic alarm that decreased the risk of being robbed by 15%. If you need extra money at the end of the day, there’s the option to sell your alarm (for less than you purchased it for, of course).
Worn Guitar: You’ll start your journey off with an old worn guitar, this guitar will allow you to play on the streets for some extra cash when needed, but you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade to a new guitar if you’re interested in making some more cash next time you play on the streets.
Worn Wallet: I decided to upgrade my worn wallet to a normal wallet, which allowed me to make an extra 10% in the jobs I worked throughout my travels. You can also buy more expensive wallets that increase your income by 15% or more.
Travel Souvenirs: I received souvenirs from the Olympic Stadium, the Fontana Di Trevi and the Colosseum in Rome, so you’ll find those in my backpack too!
Résumé: In your Résumé folder, you’ll find all the collected diplomas you’ve achieved since the beginning of your trip. I’ve completed 3 out of 389 diplomas in my first city.
There’s one catch though, there is only enough room in your old, small and worn backpack to fit 20 items, so the more you travel, the more likely you’re going to have to purchase a new backpack that can cost more than 2,000 BP coins.
How Do You Get to the Next City?
The greatest thing about the “Backpacker” game is that you’re not forced through a number of levels that you don’t want to complete. You actually get the opportunity to visit the airport, train stations, bus departures and boat departures to check the cost of tickets. Depending on what time you’d like to depart and how much money you would like to spend, will depend on your next destination.
How Do You Win the Game?
The entire premise of the game is to ‘conquer the world and become a Backpacker’. In order to do that, you’ll need to visit all the cities in your passport and complete all the challenges given to you along the way. You can travel back and forth to different cities if you need to. You can also compare your score with friends if you’re really competitive.
I enjoyed playing Backpacker, and I’m excited to find some more down time to continue virtually exploring. While it might not live up to the real deal, it’s a great way to educate yourself, inspire yourself and become a worldly backpacker even when you may not be able to visit the entire world in reality.
Travel tip shared by Jenna for Travel Dudes.