042806_largerEndless runners really have to stand out these days in the rather crowded space to make an impact. Thankfully, Retro Runners [Free] does just that with a unique visual style and some smooth gameplay to boot.

Similar to Temple Run without the twists and turns, you'll trek your way down a course, shifting left and right between tracks and jumping to avoid various obstacles. The controls are super easy -- swiping on the left side switches tracks, and the right side leaps into the air. Water pits, other runners, and hurdles are among the traps you'll have to navigate, which forces you to adapt rather quickly. Along the way you'll have to pick up water bottles to continue on and keep your health bar topped up, which makes things a bit more hectic.

You'll be tasked with collecting coins and getting as far as you possibly can, which unlocks challenges -- something that's basically required in this genre at this point. Although there are a decent amount of things to navigate, future updates could really strengthen the game by starting you in different locales when each race begins, and mix up the formula a bit.

The art style is a cute, vibrant take on South Park's Terrence and Philip cartoon. Nothing is drab, and pretty much every single character has some life to them. But it doesn't just look endearing, as there are a few funny Easter eggs hidden throughout, and ridiculous racers like skeletons and zombies. It's not laugh out loud funny, but it's likeable enough to crack a smile every now and then.

IAPs are available, but they're extremely sparse and don't ruin the experience in any way. You can buy lives, coins, and the ability to remove ads, but considering this is a free game it doesn't feel exploitative. You do need to grind a bit though to get some of the bigger rewards (including the zombie runner that eats people to replenish health), which can get tiring after some long sessions mid to late game.

Retro Runners is a great little free runner that's done right, mostly because does enough to endear itself to players without forcing IAPs down your throat. It could use a little more diversity, but it's worth your time if you're not sick of the genre by now.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • lepke

    Not 5 stars?

    • Th3R3n3gad3

      I know.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      You would rather play bad games? O_o

    • Panzerbush

      I personally would never award 5 stars to any Runner. 4 is the max, which makes this game pretty damn good in my system!
      YMMV

  • Marcelo Sanches Barce

    What an amazing surprise.
    As one of the (2) developers of Retro Runners, I surely wasn't expecting a review in such a good site.
    I hope you like it, we're working hard to bring new content in the next update (this week).
    Thanks again.

  • paulkane

    I grabbed this earlier this week and have been really enjoying it. I generally do not like the runner genre, but this feels different to me or more enjoyable. I can't wait to unlock the ninja and kick those runners off the course! I do think the difficulty ramps up pretty fast from level to level, so I haven't gotten further than about half way through level 3, which is making the game play a tad tedious, but it's still fun. Happy to see the TA review.

  • TheFrost

    Yes, great game until it becones repetitive. That idea of random enviroment each time you start a new game sounds great.

    • shadax

      Same here. Played two runs and was already bored.

  • Ramaz1234

    Hmmm I gave this game a 5 for my review

  • toxiccheese

    Tried it out. Not enough going on to make it stand out. This feels like every other endless runner with the same controls and same formula but a different skin. This is not for me I guess.

  • rewyan

    Well, it surpassed the standard 3.5 star rating for an endless runner. I think I'll give it a spin.....or a run.

    • rewyan

      After trying it, the controls desperately need to be changed. It's ridiculous that you can only switch lanes by swiping one side of the screen and jump with the other. It needs to have controls like temple run and every other endless runner we're used to.

  • Ramaz1234

    Chris Carter u were an amazing nfl player man

  • kaibosh

    This is an absolutely atrocious game. Four stars?! Seriously? Even without the CARPET BOMBING of ads it wouldn't rate more than a single star. There are ZERO redeeming features to this waste of code,

  • Ramaz1234

    Ok so I decided to play it some more and put on my serious reviewer glasses and I gave this game:

    1 star for different characters to unlock and all have different abilities like the skeleton who never gets tired

    1 star for different levels I like how when u reach a certain amount time of running on one level it changes to a new "map" and increases the difficulty. Makes u wanna keep playing so you can see all the "maps".

    1 star for the cool and awsome gfx,animations and character designs. One of the main reasons I play a lot still.

    .5 stars for the controls, people are saying they suck but I say they are good I really like them makes the game unique but also makes it annoying at first to get used to

    -1 star for nothing really new when u take everything I said above away this game is still very similar to Temple run and really doesn't offer anything cool or exciting

    -.5 for the controls already explained it

    So in the end I have this game a 3.5 star rating :)

  • darkcheetah

    It reminds me of the video to The Dire Straights' "I Want my MTV"!

  • DCver3

    Jared Nelson is a doucher.

  • Arthur Ciappina

    hey guys, we made a new update, with new level, rebalanced levels, performance improvement and more! I promise that game is better than before now! :D

Retro Runners Reviewed by Chris Carter on . Rating: 4