The little things in an endless runner have never mattered as much as they do now in the cluttered genre. Get Set Games' Mega Run [Free] is formulaic, but every component and mechanic it offers has been superhumanly implemented and executed. Its physics, running, and jumping all feel fantastic, though familiar, and its world feels textured. It's a joy to play and easy to get wrapped up in, just by virtue of how savagely it slays every point of design possible in a modern runner.
Mega Run sees the return of Redford, Mega Jump's delightfully cutesy red dinosaur-thing-creature, in a senseless adventure that has him running and jumping through five themed worlds containing 16 stages each. Redford isn't the only thing from Mega Jump you'll see in Mega Run, either. That game's power-ups have also come over, as well as its some of its IAP design philosophies.
Like most runners, Mega Run is a standard run, jump, and grab coins affair. Boring on its face, but everything is so well-realized and executed: the controls are responsive, Redford's weight feels great, and the power-ups do a fantastic job bolstering and changing up the pace of the core running mechanic. One power-up, for example, makes Redford gigantic. It slows him down, but also gives him the ability to crash through level barriers and mow down enemies that he'd have to avoid in his normal state. Other power-ups make him run faster, give him projectiles, or let him take to the air for short stretches of time. A sharp RPG-like feature keeps you invested in these, too, as you'll spend the coins you earn unlocking more abilities.
Most endless runners are, well, endless, so it's nice that this offers a much more traditional, instance-based experience. It makes the package feel more accessible and it leads to a wider variety of levels. Most are based in a forested world, but the details in the art direction differentiate each level. The same goes for the sound. There's some great tracks in this, some of which seem to pay respect to Donkey Kong with their drums and tribal instrumentation.
So, OK: we've got a slick, free game here that hits all the right notes. Let's talk about that IAP. Mega Run's free-to-play functionality is pretty inoffensive, as far as IAP stuff goes. It takes the form of two kinds of currencies that you can purchase for real dough or earn via in-game in order to obtain extra lives and power-ups. As I play, I don't feel the need or the pressure to pay, though I can imagine a scenario in which I might just want to pay an extra buck or two to get three stars on a level after a frustrating slip-up.
End of the day: Mega Run is an engrossing, vibrant game that has a fantastic presentation, controls and art direction. At its core, the action is pretty standard, but the execution is near flawless. Give it a spin.
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