Never has a video-game title more aptly summed up its experience than Marvel Run Jump Smash [$0.99], and it's as fun as it you would assume. Marvel RJS puts you in the spandex-clad bodies of iconic heroes that came blasting out of the mind of Stan Lee like webbing from Petey Parker's web-shooters--but with a twist. You start out as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.--either Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury or, uh, some other person who is not Samuel L. Jackson--and run, jump, and shoot your way through bad guys and obstacles like gouts of flame and electric gates. Along the way, you'll come across hero tokens that bear the likenesses of one of the four superheroes you set to your active team before starting the game.

Touch a token and your S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is replaced by a super-powered avatar who explodes onto the scene, clearing away a screen's worth of booby-traps and granting you control of trademark moves. Cap flings his shield off to the right, making quick work of enemies waiting to pounce; Hulk predictably and appropriately Hulk-smashes everything in his path, Iron Man fires blasts from his advanced armor, and so on. Heroes also act as a buffer: get hit, and you revert back to your S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to continue the run.

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Besides serving as human shields, each hero has a special jumping ability. As you hurtle ever rightward, you collect groups of coins. Collecting every coin in a group without getting hit increases a multiplier that factors into how much spending money you receive at the end of your run for upgrades like boosting the time you control heroes, who only remain on the battlefield for a short time. Each group of coins is arranged such that only the last hero whose token you came across can reach every last one using their special jump. Iron Man fires his thrusters and takes flight to nab coins high in the sky. Black Widow can hover in midair to grab coins hanging just out of reach, and Hulk can drop straight down--the only way to pocket vertical lines of glittering gold.

The arrangements of coins, and the obstacles and enemies littered among them, become trickier to navigate as you move along. Trickier, and loads more fun. Every series of obstacles the game throws at you is designed to test your mastery over each hero's unique skills and movement. Executing a parkour-like sequence of gymnastics through tight bunches of enemies, coins, and obstacles both inanimate and barreling toward you--and coming through the other side unscathed and with fuller pockets--is immensely rewarding.

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You can deepen each character's bag of tricks by purchasing random perks such as a second chance to extend your run after getting clobbered and the Winds of Asgard, which carry you above the chaos for a few second before dropping you to the ground. Each perk is useful, but they're a bit pricey and come up randomly, slot-machine style. You're better off saving up for upgrades with a higher cost-to-usefulness ratio such as keeping heroes in your possession longer and increasing the amount of cash you earn at the end of a run.

Predictably, you need more fake money for upgrades, character perks, and unlockables than you can earn over a dozen runs. Spider-Man, Thor, Hawkeye, and Captain Marvel tempt you with their siren's call from beyond a pay gate, but that call turns into a screech when you take a gander at their price tags. There are several ways to earn free money, ranging from a daily reward and ubiquitous "watch this 30 second video and receive fake money!" offers to much bigger commitments, like signing up for a service in exchange for six digits worth of fake money. Pony up or prepare to grind.

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Fortunately, the unique repertoire of your starting fantastic four keep the game fun, and the cost of entry is cheap. Marvel Run Jump Smash is far from the most sophisticated and addictive runner in the App Store, but comic-book fans looking for a colorful, fast-paced, and challenging experience should suit up.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • koryc

    Fair enough,we'll be picking it up when it's free

  • ODMay

    Hulk's the only character that perfectly fits that game.

  • entik14

    Really??
    Dead trigger 2 has 3 stars and this garbage 3 and a half?! I can't understand it

    • Themostunclean

      Well the Dead Trigger games are awful, so there's that.

  • Louis Ace

    Breach and Clear is much more entertaining than this, and B&C has 3 stars.

  • Jake7905

    Rated higher then 'Limbo'! (Couldn't resist)

  • WhereTheGoodGamesAt

    Poor review not a very good game I bought this right away thinking it was like jet pack joyride. It's not the graphics are blurry they look horrible on the air, the movement feels weird not smooth at all, it feels like a really cheap clone of jet pack joyride. The animation is also poor. 1.5 out of 5

  • DannyTheElite

    Why all the hate in these forums. I think it's a good game with a few issues such as crashing at the end of a run (happens about 1 in 5 times)

  • Edwin Ramirez

    Looks nice for an endless runner. I don't pay for games that I'm sure will be free in a month or two.

  • chief78

    Kinda weird the first imp was really dogging this game and then the review ends up better...? Forum thread has a lot of haters for this one. I'd be curious to actually play it...Sanuku's vid looked pretty good anyway...Still not paying for it though

  • detourne

    I know they've updated it a lot, but when it was first introduced in Korea as a kakaotalk game it was buggier than the first version of the ninja turtle runner (which also scored an obscenely high score in its review)
    It wasn't until the latest few updates of the ninja turtle runner that it became playable and almost earned it's TA score. Maybe this Marvel game is in the same boat.

  • chief78

    The game still has a ways to go, technically speaking. Most common issue is crashing, but using the help link will get the answer to fix the issue. This isn't bad at all, just needs some price balancing. Gameplay-wise, I'd honestly say (bugs aside) that the action is close to JJ, which it obviously used as reference....and I mean that in a good way.

  • chief78

    And seriously, y'all are gonna complain over 99 cents? THAT is why the TA forums get picked on for being haters....really

Marvel Run Jump Smash! Reviewed by David Craddock on . Rating: 3.5