Perhaps as many as 892 times in the past, I’ve made reference to certain gaming genres not translating particularly well onto smartphones and tablets, mostly on account of touchscreen control limitations. First Person Shooters (FPSs) being the obvious example.
One genre that does feel at home on touchscreens is, uhm, what did we settle on? Cyclical runners? You know, those games where the aim is to run for as long as possible while picking up coins to invest in power-ups to help you survive longer the next time? Them t’ings.
Yes, cyclical runner type games work particularly well on mobile devices, since they a) aren't too demanding on ye olde controls, and b) work well in bite-sized chunks.
I imagine they’re not particularly hard to develop either; scenery is often reused ad nauseam, and for gamers it's really a case of playing the same thing over and over and over... often with little to no storyline. Developers simply need to nail down some sweet running mechanics and throw in some sort of shop/upgrade system.
As such, the App Store and Google Play are absolutely flooded with ‘em, but I’m here to point your eyeballs at some of the best mobile runners, and a few that successfully deviate from the well-worn formula. Oh, needless to say, if you have any recommendations, fire them in the Comments. Danke beaucoup in advance.
Here, in no particular order, are five of our favourites:
Yes, Temple Run is largely to blame (or thank, if you prefer) for the current barrage of mobile runners. It’s a) free for both Android and iOS, and – more importantly – b) very good. Incidentally, the Android version was downloaded one million times in its first three days of release.
Temple Run asks you to run, jump and slide, and that’s about all, but it’s incredibly moreish. You’ve been warned.
Of the five runner games on this list, Rayman Jungle Run is definitely the easiest on the eye. I may have used the word “stunning” in my recent review. Er, twice.
Rayman Jungle Run is significantly different from Temple Run in that it’s split into 40 levels across four worlds, and scrolls from left to right.
As well as being the sexiest, Rayman Jungle Run is also the most expensive game on the list (at £1.99 for iOS and Android), but it’s worth every stinkin’ penny. I promise.
Jon summed up his Jetpack Joyride review by saying: “Jetpack Joyride features a shark-shaped rocketpack that keeps you aloft with the power of an enormous machine-gun. Do you need another reason to buy it?”
In fact, in the months since Jon put virtual pen to cyber paper, Jetpack Joyride has cast aside its 69p entry fee. Yep, it’s freakin’ FREE.
Having said that, as insanely enjoyable as it is, Jetpack Joyride is pretty heavy on the freemium stuff. Investing in power-ups yields notably lengthier runs, and there’s a ludicrously extensive shop. Of course, saving up is ever so slightly frustrating, and Halfbrick Studios is happy to accept your coin.
Still, bloody brilliant.
I reviewed Pocket Climber quite recently, describing it as my favourite of the traditional cyclical camera-behind-the-protagonist runners after Temple Run. Yeah, I probably stand by that.
As the name suggests, Pocket Climber ditches running in favour of climbing, but ultimately it’s much the same thing: dodge hazards, collect coins, buy power-ups, repeat till your fingers fall off.
I’m not sure why I like Pocket Climber so much, I just do, alright? Leave me alone.
Price: free @ App Store
I wasn’t entirely sure which runner game to slot in at the end of our countdown, but I remember being quite fond of Mega Run when I reviewed it back in… June. JUNE? Good lord.
Looking back, I was using all sorts of crazy wordage, like “luscious” and “eye-meltingly vibrant” and “looks incredible”. Mega Run has an almost Nintendo-esque vibrancy.
Indeed, the apparent Nintendo influence in Mega Run doesn’t end with the visuals. How about stars, temporary invincibility, smashing blocks, and coins? All in all, great stuff.
Price: free @ App Store