These days, endless runners need to go above and beyond in some aspect if they hope to rise above the competition and get some attention. Enter Escape from Age of Monsters [$0.99 / HD] an endless runner from Massive Joe Studios. Featuring a beautiful and unique art style, Escape certainly has our attention as a game worth checking out.

Escape puts you in the role of Gizzard, a man in possession of a mysterious pair of gloves who is to survive the monster invasion. With orphans in tow, you’ll guide Gizzard through buildings punching down walls and monsters, all while collecting floating items offering points, coins and a variety of power-ups (slowdown, speedup, e.t.c.). Miss a punch, and the monsters will take the orphans before eventually taking you down and ending the game. As expected, the longer you stay alive, the faster the obstacles come at you, until you eventually succumb to the monsters.

The first thing you’ll notice about Escape from Age of Monsters is its gorgeous visuals. The hand-drawn animated style is quite unique and simply looks stunning. Everything from the characters themselves to the backdrops to even the menus has an air of being meticulously detailed, and gives off the feeling that you’re playing in an animated cartoon. Amazingly, this feeling is amplified on the new iPad, as the retina-visuals on the large screen look quite fantastic. This sentiment is also carried over with the game’s music, which boasts a great metal soundtrack that fits the theme and sets the mood appropriately. This all leads to a very enjoyable playing experience, as Escape simply nails its presentation.

Gizzard’s gloves are the key to Escape’s gameplay. One glove is colored red while the other is blue. Tapping on the right side of the screen will launch a red punch while tapping on the left side launches the blue. Relatedly, every barrier and baddie you encounter will be colored red or blue. Thus, the game becomes an exercise in tapping the appropriate side of the screen that corresponds with the obstacle in front of you.

In addition to the simple survival objective, Escape features a mission system that tasks you with various objectives and rewards items that permanently increase the base score multiplier upon completion. This continues a recent trend in endless titles that provide score-enhancing awards vice older titles that tried to mostly preserve leaderboard parity regardless of how much you played. One minor complaint is the lack of iCloud support for your progress, although that is somewhat expected considering iPad and iPhone versions are separate. Regardless, it’s a good incentive program that encourages gamers to play for more than just leaderboard chasing (even if the rewards are simply to make said chasing easier).

While the controls are simple enough for an endless runner, there are a few miscues that prevent it from being flawless. For example, each successful punch has the opportunity to award double points, with three consecutive ‘perfect’ punches putting you in ‘Turbo Mode,’ where the score multiplayer jumps up even further and you get a temporary extra life (until the mode breaks).

However, the timing for the perfect punches seems a bit off. While continual practice alleviates this problem somewhat, you never seem to fully grasp the timing window. Another issue revolves around the swiping mechanism needed to collect the various items and power-ups littered on the level. I had multiple occasions where I’d swipe at the item several times and the collection wouldn’t register. Considering how hectic Escape gets in later buildings, this can get frustrating when you’re trying to balance item collection and wall breaking.

Despite the above issues, Escape from Age of Monsters is still a great endless runner. I’d argue that it warrants consideration simply from its visuals. Luckily, you won’t have to make that decision as Escape also offers a balanced gameplay experience to accompany those visuals. With that in mind, you’d be hard-pressed to pass up on this endless runner.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Steven Lewis

    This is a good and fair review of a really fun game. I agree with what the reviewer states about getting perfect hits; it took me a long time to get a real feel for the timing but after playing way too much of this, I get them a fair percentage of the time. I do not have much trouble getting the bonus items; it needs to be a distinct swipe and not just a touch.

    One of developers is active on the forums and promises tweaks to the controls and later, more content. That would be great!

  • angel841

    You guys need to add videos of the gameplay, not trailers. I have to go to youtube for almost all the games you review

    • otyugh

      The trailer above has gameplay.

    • Brian Williams

      you drove all the way to YouTube to watch gameplay of this game? All you had to do is jump ahead in the video, gameplay is usually at the end of these trailers. Save your gas!

  • B30 B30

    Great art style by Jeff Matsuda! 🙂

Escape from Age of Monsters Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 4