Category Archives: Runner

Not all runners are created equal. Some are endless, others are finite, but for the most part, we can agree that they fit the mobile platform due to their simplistic controls. Escape from the Pyramid [$1.99] is another game that both benefits and suffers from its simplicity...

'Stickman Rush' Review: Great Style, Not So Much Substance

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March 26th, 2015 9:30 AM EDT by Andrew Smith in 3 stars, Free, Reviews, Runner
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I'm gonna go ahead and drop an F-bomb: Stickman Rush is flabbergastingly beautiful. Not since Monument Valley has a game's aesthetic so immediately dropped my jaw to the floor and had my eyes bulging with pixel lust. Alas this lane-changing infinite scroller is much stronger in presentation than it is in actual gameplay...

Many game-makers dream the dream of overnight success, but few get to live the reality. For three-man French team 1Button, the dream came true, as their new title Mr Jump rocketed up the App Store charts, shifting more than a million copies every day...

We've seen plenty of games that take after the kind of endless wave-sliding popularized by Tiny Wings [$0.99 / $2.99 (HD)], and refined by Kumobius' Time Surfer [Free] which threw its own wrinkles and a monetization-friendly metagame into the mix. RAD Boarding [Free] from Other Ocean and Noodlecake feels like it could be that next milestone game in this genre, at least at first. It has a gorgeous look and a game structure that could ideally make it a game worth checking out. But the problem is that RAD Boarding focuses way too much on its structure and metagame, and not enough on making getting high scores and actually playing the game feel important at all...

One of the more highly-anticipated games around TA finally launched this week with Built By Snowman's Alto's Adventure [$2.99]. The game has been highly praised for its beautiful art, which has caused it to gain a lot of traction and even get coverage on several media outlets that don't normally cover video games. It's definitely striking enough to have a mainstream appeal, and I myself have to confess that I'm constantly being stricken by the game's beauty. However, as a long-time gamer and someone who has played more side-scrolling endless runners than I can count, I admit that I was underwhelmed gameplay-wise the first time I took Alto's Adventure for a spin. It felt like, "That's it?"..

If you hit up our weekly new game release post looking for the stylish endless snowboarding game Alto's Adventure [$2.99] and panicked when you didn't see it, fear not: The game is now officially available in the App Store. We've had our eye on Alto's Adventure from developer Snowman, Inc. since they first began teasing the game last fall. It utilizes a very attractive art style that's reminiscent of thatgamecompany's 2012 PlayStation hit Journey, which Snowman has indeed cited as an inspiration. Gameplay-wise, Alto's Adventure is very similar to the excellent Ski Safari [$0.99]. Your character moves to the right automatically, while tapping the screen makes him jump and holding down on the screen while in the air performs a backflip. ..

It's possible that I'll never get tired of good "endless" games. Although there's no real goal in sight, earning all of those incremental upgrades to do slightly better after each run is the definition of deviously addicting. Go!Go!Go! Racer [Free] has the addicting part down, but it suffers from the same fate as any heavily monetized game in that the devs have made it difficult to enjoy it without paying up...

Endless runners are a dime a dozen on the App Store, but there's one that's unique enough that it's been holding my attention ever since it released in late September. That game is Jack B. Nimble [$1.99] from indie developer Sean Noonan. Obviously it's an auto-runner where the speed gradually increases as you jump from platform to platform and try to avoid falling to your death, but it adds a clever Castlevania-inspired whipping mechanic into the mix which also has you trying to whip candlesticks to increase your score multiplier while simultaneously avoiding falling to your death. The added mechanic adds an extra layer of franticness and a risk/reward proposition as sometimes going for those candlesticks can seriously throw off your running and jumping rhythm. This is all tied together with visuals that are a very faithful homage to the original Game Boy and a killer soundtrack...

For the first time since releasing in September of last year, Ian MacLarty and Jon Kerney's fantastic behind-the-back runner Boson X [$2.99] is currently free on iOS. We loved the look of Boson X since we first laid eyes on it prior to it being released. The premise is that you're a scientist running through a particle accelerator, leaping from platform to platform while avoiding falling into the gaps, and running across the glowing platforms to hit an energy threshold that lets you move on to the next level. It's proudly inspired by Super Hexagon both in its look and the fact that you're rotating a giant angular shape by tapping either side of the screen. Though Boson X is based on a decagon as opposed to a hexagon...

'Zombie Highway 2' Review - The Fun Never Stops

Free-to-play gets a bad rap among a lot of serious mobile gamers, and often for good reason: there are many games which devolve and infantilize their design because it's more profitable to do so. But not Zombie Highway 2 [Free]. This is a free-to-play game that features many of the trappings of the business model, two-tier currencies, and incentivized video ads, but it makes them feel optional, and doesn't get in the way of being a fun, zombie-splattering good time...

As a developer, if you're going to wade neck-deep into a crowded genre, especially one in a very crowded marketplace in general, you have to have some kind of means of standing out from the crowd. When it comes to side-scrolling running games, it's getting harder and harder to find something that can actually accomplish that job. Jack B. Nimble [$1.99], from developer Sean Noonan, opts to take the approach of a double-barreled appeal to nostalgia, with graphics that look like they came off a torqued-up Game Boy and a theme that will be instantly recognizable to Castlevania fans. It's got an interestingly familiar cadence to it that I don't see very often in this kind of game, and it will certainly have strong appeal for those who appreciate streamlined runners like Canabalt [$2.99] or Boson X [$2.99]...

Okay, so I know that Gameloft's new runner Spider-Man Unlimited [Free] didn't go over well with some of our readers, mostly due to its use of a energy meter in what is perhaps the worst possible genre to put a stamina meter into, but I still think the game is a heck of a lot of fun, and it's been eating into my productivity since it came out. It's quite content-rich for a running game, and there are a lot of angles you could come at the game from and come away very satisfied, all without spending a cent. The energy meter is the biggest elephant in the room, and you can only mitigate it at best, but apart from that, this game is surprisingly generous to the frugal gamer. Rather than do my usual guide with a collection of tips in a list, I'm going to first present some general advice, then different sections based on what your personal goals are for the game. The way to progress in this game is pretty different depending on whether you're more interesting in chasing scores, completing the story portions, or just collecting characters...

'FOTONICA' Review - A Running Riot

'FOTONICA' Review - A Running Riot

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I'm going to take a guess, dear reader, and say that you have played an endless runner or two hundred. I don't think you've played anything on mobile quite like Fotonica [$0.99]. It's an auto-runner by way of Mirror's Edge [$0.99 / $9.99 (HD)] – not the side-scrolling game, but the original game, in first-person, all in a wireframe style. The entire game is played with one touch, but it's not tap-to-jump. Essentially, tapping and holding on the screen descends to the ground, and allows the runner to pick up speed, while letting go jumps in the air. When jumping, trying to land with this rapid descent is important to maintain speed, as bonus points are earned for running fast enough that the world turns gold...

Yes, I went for the low-hanging fruit with the review title. Let's just try to move past that and get to the game I want to tell you about today, Kapsula [$1.99]. This is a pretty unusual game. If it wasn't so utterly out there with its theme, I'd almost think it was the product of some bizarre marketing meeting. This is basically a lane-based endless runner mixed with a match-3 puzzle game, and I'll let you try to hash out how that might work for a second before I spoil it all for you...

Gameloft's newest release, Spider-Man Unlimited [Free], makes me feel all complicated inside. Regular readers will know that I tend to prefer my running games to be simple and gimmick-free, and this game is anything but that. Of course, regular readers will also know that I can't resist a game based on superhero comics. I expected that to be my struggle with the game, but in a surprise twist, it's not. This is probably the most fun I've had with a gimmick-heavy runner this side of Iron Man 3 [Free]. It has a ton of gameplay variety, a great goal-based structure to accompany its endless running mode, exceptional fan service, and a few ridiculously compelling tricks borrowed from Puzzle & Dragons [Free]-style games. As a huge Spider-Man fan, playing this game is an absolute joy. Unfortunately, leveling up an assortment of collectible characters isn't the only way Spider-Man Unlimited borrowed from that popular genre, and therein lay the proverbial fly, or I suppose spider, in the soup...

'ALONE' Review - Forever Alone

With all the gimmicks endless runners tend to have bolted on them these days, it's sometimes easy to forget that it all started with just a simple score attack. No IAPs, no coins, no cosmetic upgrades, no power-ups, just an endless, increasingly difficult, randomized stage and a challenge to see how far you can go before inevitably failing. That's not to say gimmicks are bad, as they can be quite a lot of fun. Just look at Jetpack Joyride [Free], which is so loaded with stuff you could almost forget about the goal of going farther in favor of collecting things and still have tons of fun. There's something about that pure experience, however. It's something I greatly appreciated in Boson X [$2.99], and it's something I very much enjoy here in ALONE [$1.99]...

There's a pretty decent assortment of Adventure Time games available on the App Store now, and while they're not exactly blazing trails for the hobby, just about all of them are quite a bit better than a lot of licensed titles end up being. Adventure Time has already tackled the side-scrolling runner, sort of, in Ski Safari: Adventure Time [$0.99], and now it's taking a swing at the behind the back runner with Time Tangle: Adventure Time [$2.99]. This game is coming at us from the developers of Indiana Stone [$2.99], TwinSky, and like that game, it's got a very different idea of how to approach a well-mined concept...

Remember back in June when we made you aware of the existence of a behind-the-back endless runner starring perhaps the most famous fictional runner of all, Forrest Gump? Well, the game was only soft-launched in limited territories back then, but as of today Run Forrest Run [Free] is now officially available. I still can't believe that it took three years after Temple Run's release sparked off the 3rd-person runner craze for someone to make a running game about Forrest Gump. But, with the film's 20th anniversary happening about a month ago (wow I feel old) the time seemed right to finally put the pieces together...

Dragon Raiders [$0.99] is not your typical endless runner. It may seem like Temple Run [Free] with dragons on the surface, but what lies beneath is a clever game with a bit more to it...

I was sort of blown away last month when Semi Secret's seminal endless runner Canabalt [$2.99] received a substantial update for the first time in nearly three years, but apparently that was just a warmup. Today Canabalt version 2.0 has hit the App Store and it adds in all the additional modes and local multiplayer functionality that Android and Ouya players have been enjoying for the past couple of years, and which were hinted at for iOS players way back in 2012. The additional modes consist of eight variations of the original mode, which is now dubbed Origin, and they all focus on a single element of the Canabalt gameplay...

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