Totem Runner iOS review

Totem Runner iOS reviewAnd so to Totem Runner, yet another one of them survival running type games. Thankfully it’s a horizontal-scrolling effort as opposed to a camera-behind-the-protagonist Temple Run-style outing, and Rayman Jungle Run recently proved that there’s life left in the well-worn genre yet. Oh, and it’s from Chillingo, which is usually a good sign.

Alas, Totem Runner is like a really hot chick that’s a total pain in the bum. It looks great, but it’s incredibly hard work – and not in the good way.

Okay, we’ve covered the basics. You’re automatically running from left to right, but rather than the obligatory jump button, you have a series of forms you can transform into.

The “rampaging rhino” is good for charging through (most of) Totem Runner’s obstacles, and for head-butting baddies. He also runs dead fast.

The “mighty eagle”, meanwhile, is essentially a direct alternative to jumping, and can be used to soar over hazards and through caverns and that.

The “fearsome dragon” (almost there; bear with me) can be used to skip to the next checkpoint at the cost of 50 gems, which are scattered around the levels.

Finally, there’s a spider type thing, and tapping the heck out of the bottom right of the screen makes a particular baddie explode. For some reason.

All good so far. Better still, the level design in Totem Runner is really rather impressive, making challenging demands on the various forms, often in quick succession, but rarely unfairly so. Heck, there’s always the dragon if you get completely stuck.

Totem Runner iOS review

As I touched on before, Totem Runner also looks fantastic. The protagonist and the foreground are almost completely black, while the backgrounds – contrastingly – adopt vibrant colour schemes.

Sounds great, right? Well, yeah. In theory.

See, Totem Runner’s mighty eagle uses idiotic accelerometer controls that can’t be calibrated. As such, I often found myself holding my iPad at ridiculous angles, and a few times managed to flip the orientation around the horizontal axis so that the game flipped upside down. Sigh.

You can change the controls to use up and down arrows instead of the accelerometer, but they’re even worse, given the precision demanded by certain time-critical sections.

It’s a shame, as it pretty much ruined the Totem Runner experience for me. I suspect it’s not as bad on the iPhone, but I was in too much of a huff to check it out, and couldn’t be bothered starting from scratch on the smaller screen.

A point deducted for the terrible, terrible (did I mention terrible?) accelerometer controls, but otherwise great. Confused? Like I said, playing Totem Runner is just like dating crazy hot chicks.


  • Stellar level design
  • Various forms
  • Looks great


  • The mighty eagle’s accelerometer controls
  • The soundtrack feels out of place at times
  • Not particularly long

Summary: Totem Runner is a potentially great run-as-far-as-you-can-without-dying type game, with impressive level design and occasionally stunning graphics, but the accelerometer controls are unforgiveable.

Developer: Chillingo

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Price: 69p @ App Store

Totem Runner iOS review

Read more about: Apple iPad miniApple iPhone 5iOSApple iPad 2Apple iPad 3Apple iPad 4Apple iPhone 3GSApple iPhone 4Apple iPhone 4S

Add a comment

JanSt / MOD  Nov. 3, 2012 at 19:43

TBH, it looks rubbish in those 3 pics...

lcurdie / MOD  Nov. 3, 2012 at 21:08

To be fair, the animation is pretty slick. Those screenshots (or indeed any screenshots) don't do it justice.

JanSt / MOD  Nov. 3, 2012 at 22:23

Okay, sir.
I shall take your word

JanSt / MOD  Nov. 3, 2012 at 22:24

To be fair, the animation is pretty slick. Those screenshots (or indeed any screenshots) don't do it justice.
We need animated GIFs, dude...


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