iOS Game Reviews

Microtastic Reviews: Run & Jump Edition

Developer: Semi Secret Software
Price: $3
Platform: iPhone

Simple games are perfect for the iPhone. That’s not to say simple is bad, the one button mechanic is perfect for the platform. The aim is to simple run and jump across the rooftops avoiding anything that get’s in your way while the world around you is under attack. This gives the game a simple premise as to why you’re running, something many games of this type don’t bother with. Obstacles includes boxes which slow you down, collapsing buildings, unknown objects and skyscraper windows. You automatically run and pressing anywhere on the screen will cause the man to jump, how far he jumps depends on how long you hold down on the screen. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for in style, everything about the game looks fantastic, even the attention to detail in the background looks great. It’s also supported by a solid soundtrack. I say soundtrack, it’s really just one song, but that song fits the mood and atmosphere perfectly.

The main problem comes with the price, $3 for this type of game is on the high side. Other games in this genre are around $1-2. Not to mention this game is available free online, making this price tag rather unreasonable.

The Final Word
One of the best games you will find for this genre being both simple and addictive with an excellent style, though the $3 price point is rather high for what you get.

– MonsterVine Rating: Excellent

Chop Chop Runner
Developer: Gameizon
Price: $1
Platform: iPhone

Chop Chop Runner works in pretty much the same way. This time however you are a ninja just trying to run for as long as you can. Unlike Canabalt you have no premise at all, not that this is problem for these types of games. Not only can you jump but you can also attack any enemy that get in your way. Press once to jump (holder down to jump further) and press again while in the air to attack. This attack very often can save your life. If you happen to fall off the screen and an enemy is in sight you may attack to the enemy and in the process save your life. To help stop things getting overwhelming if you attack an enemy or hit an exploding barrel you will perform a safe jump where you will always land in a safe spot which is a very welcome addition to the game, without it you would have many cheap deaths.

That’s not to say you won’t have any cheap deaths. While the mechanics are sound, the camera however isn’t so great. Your field of vision is quite a bit smaller than that in Canabalt, sometimes you can jump onto a ledge and be totally blind to what is coming next making it hard to judge what to do beforehand. It’s not helped that some of the ledges are ridiculously small. It takes quite a few attempts to really get used to how the game works. The game is also connected to Openfeint which allows you to connect to facebook, post high score and receive achievements that helps adding to replay value. Animations have a nice cartoon style, while not as stylistic as Canabalt still looks great and very rarely drops in frame-rate.

The Final Word
While not as accessible and stylised as Canabalt. Chop Chop Runner is a fun and addictive little game perfect for the platform.

– MonsterVine Rating: Good

Developer: Arther Ham
Price: $1
Platform: iPhone

The title says it all. You are a stickman who just runs, and boy does he keep on running. Run! takes what you know from this style of game and adds a hell of a lot more. By swiping up behind the man you jump and swipe down to crouch, you then process to do this action for a second or 2. You also tap the attack button on the bottom right to punch. That’s not all, you also tap objects to destroy them. You got all that? I didn’t first time I played, it took me multiple playthroughs until I realised I could tap certain objects to destroy them. Some sort of playable tutorial would be nice rather than walls of text, with so many mechanics to get your head around this is a must.

You gain points for distance travelled and destroying enemies and obstacles. Every 100 points another obstacles or enemy will appear adding more choas as you go along. This scaling difficulty would of be nice if things didn’t get so hectic quickly. Having to press attack and tap the screen constantly can get too much let alone jumping and ducking. It’s not helped by the fact that by tapping the screen you are also blocking your own view which can lead to many needless deaths. Along with a normal mode the games offers a quick mode where things are sped up. Minute mode where you have to gain as many points as possible and finally and more surprisingly of all a custom mode where you can pick what obstacles or powers up appear, set starting speed, obstacles spacing, lives and when you level up. You can then also share this set up with friends. The game is also connected to Openfeint, adding a lot of life to the game. Shame the main mechanics aren’t up the same level as the features it has to offer.

Animations are hit and miss. While running the game looks quite nice even if a bit basic and despite all chaos the frame-rate is consistent. The stickman’s jump and duck animations aren’t all that fluid and works a lot like the classic Mr Game and Watch. This also makes it hard to judge how long the character will do the animation for, this has caused me many deaths. But for the most part the game looks presentable.

The Final Word
Run! is a game with potential but ultimately fails by giving you too much to do and doesn’t do any one mechanic all that well.

– MonsterVine Rating: Poor

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