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Review: Sonic Runners

Jun 25 // Chris Carter
Sonic Runners (Android, iOS [reviewed on an iPhone 6])Developer: SegaPublisher: SegaReleased: May 25, 2015MSRP: Free-to-play Sonic Runners is very clearly, well, a runner, but it's far more than meets the eye. It's level-based, features a variety of locales from Sonic's past, has a cute little story involved, and plays wonderfully well, just like how you'd imagine a good mobile Sonic game would. Our hero will run from left to right automatically through stages that mirror the classics from his storied history, and players can tap anywhere on the screen to jump. Tapping again will trigger another leap, and the process of jumping will inherently attack enemies. A lot of depth lies beneath the surface, with multi-tiered stages that are a lot like Robot Unicorn Attack's maps, giving you a good sense of adventure on a constant basis like a true platformer. Gathering more coins and pickups in a short period of time will grant you a combo bonus, which in turn earns you more points, which assists in your progress with the story and your skill unlocks. It looks great on paper and in action as well, sporting a cool bright look that differentiates itself from the classic titles while giving it a distinct style. It's great how Sonic Runners actually feels like a Sonic game through and through, from the "dying while having no rings" mechanic to plungers, to loops, and Tails' flight power and Knuckles' power dash are great additions. Sonic and the rest of the cast have individual experience levels, and can equip "buddies" (like Chao) for minor statistical bonuses. You can also level-up characters to beef up their response to power-ups and point bonuses for specific objectives. Like I said, it's surprisingly deep, and will keep you interested for the long haul rather than supply you with a selection of different cosmetic options. [embed]294806:59239:0[/embed] Unfortunately, Sega decided to be unreasonable with the free-to-play nature of the game. First, you'll have to go through a grueling signup process that involves updates (which crashed when I first tried to install it this morning), online checks, and age verification (so you don't spend all your parent's money). From there, you'll head on down to the microtransaction layer, of which you will likely never return. Let me just list off everything that's present in the game: two roulettes, one for each type of currency that you earn or buy spins for, an energy system that takes 30 minutes to recharge per life, a revive system that involves watching an ad to restart from your death point, three types of currency you can buy (yellow rings, red rings, and lives), friend invite bonuses (10 will get you Amy), and a ticker that shows "current deals" on the currencies involved. This is exacerbated by ads that run every so often after a level, seemingly for no reason, that happen to play the ad's audio alongside of the game's music. Sometimes, this happens while you're getting a post-match bonus tallied. It's exhausting. While playing each round and having a bit of confined fun will often have you forgetting about all of these elements, it's not long before they're thrown back into your face. The energy system is probably the worst part, limiting your playtime regardless of whether or not you wade through everything else. In practice, Sonic Runners is a fun mobile tribute to the Blue Blur, and the team that designed it should be proud -- this is how you bring a storied console franchise to the Android and iOS marketplaces. Unfortunately, the team in charge of that team decided that said fun should be gated by needless locks with cash keys, which is a problem. Give it a go and see if you can stomach the microtransactions. As for myself, I'm taking frequent breaks, mostly because I'm forced to.
Sonic Runners photo
Did Eggman design the microtransactions?
Hey, Sega actually made a really cool mobile Sonic game...then promptly proceeded to beat it down with layers and layers of microtransactions. Oh Sega, you scamp!

EarthNight photo
EarthNight

EarthNight is a game about running on dragons in space


Hand painted for PS4 and PS Vita
Jun 01
// Jordan Devore
There's a lot of stuff going on in this trailer for EarthNight that I don't fully understand, but it sure looks and sounds cool. The PlayStation 4 and PS Vita (not endless) runner was painted by hand and "made to elevate the...
KFC game photo
KFC game

KFC takes us through the life of Colonel Sanders in a game


Double Down Browntown
May 20
// Darren Nakamura
Colonel Sanders lived an interesting life. In an attempt to bring him back into the public eye, fast food chain KFC wants to tell the story of his life, though it seems like it might be embellished a bit in the free minigame ...

Color Guardians bossfight photo
Color Guardians bossfight

Learn why the Color Guardians final boss is so poorly designed


Spoilers: it's everything
May 12
// Darren Nakamura
In my review earlier, I wrote a couple of paragraphs talking about how the final boss fight is so poorly designed that it brings the entire experience down. It feels like the developer didn't playtest the fight at all, becau...

Review: Color Guardians

May 12 // Darren Nakamura
Color Guardians (Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], PlayStation Vita)Developer: Fair Play LabsPublisher: Niffler LtdReleased: May 12, 2015MSRP: $14.99 Color Guardians is a cutesy runner, but its manner of dealing with obstacles is what sets it apart from others in the genre. Each of the three playable Color Guardians can change color at will between blue, red, and yellow. Combined with the three lanes where the action takes place, players are basically choosing among nine different states to be in. Going from any one state to another takes only three button presses at most; often it is fewer than that. The reason for switching between lanes is obvious; sometimes there is a rock in one lane that needs to be dodged. Changing color is necessary for nearly every other interaction. To start, the color orbs littering the environments can only be collected by a character of a matching color. Over the course of the game, new objects and obstacles are added, most of which require a certain color in order to function or bypass. With that setup, one could imagine level design that requires finger gymnastics resembling the input of an old school cheat code, but it starts out more plainly. To ease players in, the first few levels don't require fast color switches and they don't even use yellow. It's a decent primer for what to expect, but it takes too long to get to the good stuff. [embed]291885:58487:0[/embed] To make up for that, some extra mechanics are thrown in so that the early levels aren't totally mundane for those who catch on quickly. To get full credit for collecting a color orb, the Color Guardians not only have to be that color, but they also have to be spinning, achieved by pressing the button that corresponds to that color. Additionally, points are awarded for switching colors or lanes, on top of the base points for collecting orbs. The theory behind these two mechanics is commendable. They allow for open-ended scoring. Even if one player spins into every orb perfectly, another can do that with an extraneous color change thrown in to score just a bit higher on the leaderboard. Risk switching to the wrong color before switching back, get rewarded with a better score. The high score on a given level is theoretically unlimited. Though it sounds like it could be tackled with elegance, in actual play it just leads to a lot of button mashing. With a string of red orbs to collect, one could treat it like a dance, rhythmically alternating between red and blue. It turns out to be easier and more effective to continuously smash both buttons nearly simultaneously, with the button for red coming just after the button for blue. It's not very satisfying. Thankfully, this is alleviated in the later levels by virtue of difficulty. Once things really start moving and the levels require constant switching between lanes and colors, there is less room for high score chasing. There are some clever sections that subvert expectations, like where players want to switch to an off color in order to intentionally miss a jump. Color Guardians is at its best toward the late game when simply getting through is a challenge. This is all brought to a grinding halt by one of the most poorly designed final boss fights I can remember. Throughout the regular levels, success can be found through training. The levels are designed, so tricky situations can be navigated by building muscle memory of the same button presses. Turning that design philosophy on its head, the last level is basically Random Number Generator: The Boss Fight. Without going into too much detail about how the fight works, it puts players in a situation where even if they execute everything correctly, there is at best a 67% chance of landing a hit and at worst a 0% chance. Yes, not only is it governed by a random number generator, it also contains situations where landing a hit is literally impossible. To beat the boss, three sets of two hits need to land, where each set must be completed in quick succession. I could write an essay on how this fight is so poorly designed. I might actually do that. For now, I'll just say that the last fight alone took me around three hours to complete. The actual winning run was only about five minutes. It just took that long to finally roll all the right dice. When it comes to art design, I normally applaud the use of color. Color Guardians takes it too far, with its ultra-saturated primary color palette. It's almost nauseating. The uncanny perma-smiles on the protagonists faces don't help much either. I was prepared to give Color Guardians a solid "meh" at first. Its central concept is GOOD and it shines when it lets itself do that without any room for button mashing, but that only happens during the last third of it. Building up to that is a fairly dull experience, not without challenge but certainly without excitement. If it had ended just before the final boss, it would be a forgettable runner that underdelivers on a good idea. After that terrible fight, I actively disliked it. Play this if you like a challenge and have patience to get to the good stuff, but don't even bother finishing it. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Color Guardians review photo
Color me bad
I put a lot of value in elegance. Solving a math problem in an unconventional way using two steps is inherently cooler than doing it in twenty steps. A single shot from a sniper rifle taking down a faraway target is more impr...

Review: Cosmophony

May 05 // Darren Nakamura
Cosmophony (Android, iPhone, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], PlayStation Vita, Wii U)Developer: Bento StudioPublisher: Bento StudioReleased: May 5, 2015 (PlayStation systems)MSRP: $4.99 The setup is about as simple as it gets. Fly/glide/hover/whatever down a seven-lane tube. Avoid smashing into obstacles. Optionally shoot black triangle "enemies." That's about it. There are a couple of different measure for success. Getting through a level without dying is enough to unlock the next level. Doing that while destroying every black triangle along the way is worth a full rating. Each level can be played in Practice Mode or Normal Mode. Aesthetically, Practice Mode takes out the color and some visual effects, but the big difference is that it allows the use of checkpoints and gives the ability to fast-forward or rewind to replay tricky sections. Normal Mode is the real deal: make it through a level from start to finish; any mistake means restarting from the beginning. [embed]291451:58420:0[/embed] Cosmophony's unique hook is that it functions as a rhythm game, but the reliance on rhythm is hidden at first. In the early levels, there is a lot of room for error. Firing a shot at nothing carries no penalty and timing is irrelevant as long as moves are made before crashing. Often I would take out enemies before they were even on screen by spamming the fire button knowing which lane they would be in. That changes by the third level. There is still a little bit of leeway allowed for certain decisions. There is space to overshoot, moving three lanes left instead of two. However, after playing and replaying the same sections a few times, it dawned on me that every button press corresponds to a musical element. It's not just the shooting, but also the movement. Once that became clear, I was able to reach the zen state of concentration where my fingers were doing what they were supposed to be doing before my conscious brain could tell them. So few games hit that sweet spot, where the sound and light and difficulty all come together to create an intense mental experience. Level three of Cosmophony does that for me. Sadly, that falls apart for me at the fourth level. The difficulty ramps up consistently across the levels, but it goes too far to be enjoyable. Where previous levels allowed room for minor error and contained lighter sections for the player to refocus, it turns into a relentless exercise in rote memorization and execution. I was no longer finding my happy place where time slows down; I was only finding frustration. Cosmophony is like a firework. As it's flying up and sending out sparks, interest builds. Once it detonates it's an awesome show of color and sound. After that it's over and everybody goes home. It's short and intense, but it stops being interesting once it oversteps the line between fun and frustrating. I played it and enjoyed it until it felt unfair, and now I probably won't ever touch it again. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Cosmophony review photo
The difficulty sure ain't phony
I had been lulled into a false sense of security. I finished the tutorial and the first level of Cosmophony with a perfect rating in about 15 minutes. "Four more levels of this?" I thought. "Child's play." Cut to an hour and ...

Review: Infinity Runner

Apr 22 // Darren Nakamura
Infinity Runner (Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Wii U, Xbox One)Developers: Wales InteractivePublisher: Wales InteractiveReleased: April 22, 2015MSRP: $6.99 On paper, gameplay in Infinity Runner is simple. The protagonist automatically runs forward while the player controls jumping, sliding, turning, and positioning in one of three lanes. Right away, control is the first problem. While it is responsive enough for the reaction-based gameplay, it isn't intuitive. Where the left thumbstick is used to avoid obstacles on the x-axis, it doesn't control jumping and sliding, the abilities used to avoid obstacles on the y-axis. Further, with those actions mapped to L2 and R2, there isn't an ingrained connection between button and function (as there would be if it were L1 and L2). Throughout the game to the last level, I found myself jumping when I meant to slide and vice versa. The right thumbstick controls looking, which itself controls turning left or right when the path forks. Since this occupies the same "obstacle avoidance" area in my brain, I found myself wanting the left stick to take care of turning too. It doesn't. It almost feels like playing a legacy first-person shooter after years of practice with the current standard control scheme; the muscle memory needs to be retrained for quick decisions. To say that quick decisions are necessary would be an understatement. Early on there are doors that block view of the upcoming hallway, and those are fine. Later on, the obstacles to avoid basically require rote learning and trial-and-error play. Not only are the necessary moves not telegraphed giving enough time for reaction, they sometimes are not clear at all. There were several sections where I could tell something needed to be avoided, but it's not obvious whether the hazard required a jump, a slide, a strafe, or some combination. There were some sections where I wasn't even sure what got me. [embed]290671:58228:0[/embed] Compounding on that is the unnecessary retreading in place due to a lives system. In each level, there are checkpoints where a runner can restart if he meets an unfortunate end further on, but only a limited pool of lives is available; after those are spent, it's back to the beginning of the level. Coupled with poor feedback on what exactly needs to be done, this leads to situations where a single obstacle will end a run and players will have to spend the time to get back to that point just to experiment to see how to surpass it. As a point of example, there is one section late in the game where the hero is jumping on a series of spaceships, then must jump from the last one in order to make it back to a catwalk. By jumping the gap onto the last ship, there isn't enough time to jump off. I tried the first jump as early as possible but the recovery time kept me from being able to hit the second jump in time. It turns out that the first jump is totally unnecessary; despite the gap between ships, the player is meant to just walk between them and jump off the last one. Infinity Runner does a decent job of tweaking gameplay between levels to keep it from being totally homogeneous. Sometimes the power will cut out and only the emergency lighting is visible. Sometimes the running will switch to freefalling. Sometimes there is combat made up of quick-time events. Sometimes the protagonist turns into a wolf and runs through a tube. None of it is particularly good, but at least it's different. As with the gameplay, the story sounds fine at a base level but falls apart in practice. The protagonist is a werewolf trying to escape from the spaceship Infinity. He doesn't know he's a werewolf at first, but then disembodied female voice Riley tells him. Disembodied female voice Riley says a lot of things at the player, generally through stilted voice work and cringeworthy writing. Sometimes she says things when the player would really rather be concentrating on not dying. Often she echoes through the DualShock 4's speaker, way too loudly. One time disembodied female voice Riley told me to jump. I jumped and I died because I jumped too soon. I should have waited and then jumped when I would have jumped anyway. Another time disembodied female voice Riley told me to run and I snorted. Do I have a choice? A little way into the game disembodied female voice Riley's lips stop moving when she talks, but it's an improvement because the lip movements never matched her words to begin with. Shortly after disembodied female voice Riley tells the protagonist that he is a werewolf, the pair sees a different werewolf, and then disembodied female voice Riley incredulously says she doesn't know what that monster is. It's a werewolf; you just talked about werewolves; how can you not know what that is? I don't like disembodied female voice Riley very much. After the final boss battle quick-time event (complete with its own trial-and-error sequence that had me restarting the level), disembodied female voice Riley is finally ready to divulge more information about her identity and motivations to the player, but then the boss shows up again and interrupts the communication. And then: "To be continued." It's optimistic, at least. The graphics are shiny and the art direction is passable. Most of it takes place in the drab gray hallways of a spaceship, but there are flashes of reds, greens, and blues denoting hazards. The music is pretty hard to bear; it has a sort of high energy industrial electronic feel to it that is not conducive to concentrating. There's a Trophy for turning the music off. I did that and found the experience to be slightly more tolerable. The message that Trophy sends: this music is bad and the developer knows it. There isn't a lot to like here. Banal gameplay, cheap deaths, poor feedback, dull quick-time event combat, bad acting, worse writing, and an overall amateurish presentation. The most enjoyable part of this experience was venting to a colleague about how bad it is. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Infinity Runner review photo
Doesn't last forever, thankfully
Infinite runners have their place in gaming. After Canabalt, a seemingly endless stream of 2D endless runners showed up for a piece of the action. After Temple Run, the same happened for behind-the-back 3D runners. Infinity R...

Lara Croft: Relic Run photo
Lara Croft: Relic Run

Lara Croft's in a new mobile runner \_(ツ)_/


The Lara you used to know and love
Apr 13
// Brett Makedonski
Crystal Dynamics has announced a new mobile runner titled Lara Croft: Relic Run. The name's fittingly nebulous. Is Lara running after relics? Or, is the old-school Lara the running relic, a classic character hearkening back t...

Review: Jump'N'Shoot Attack

Mar 26 // Tony Ponce
Jump'N'Shoot Attack (Android, iOS [reviewed], Windows Phone)Developer: FreakZone GamesPublisher: ScrewAttack GamesReleased: March 26, 2015 (Android, iOS) / TBA (Windows Phone)MSRP: $2.59 You are Louise Lightfoot. The President has been captured by mutants. In order to save him, you must follow these specific instructions: Jump. Shoot. Every so often, jump and shoot at the same time. So... Mega Man? Yeah, kinda! Only the commands are more explicit here, since the only two actions at your disposal are jumping and shooting. Jump'N'Shoot Attack is an auto-runner, only less Canabalt and more Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run. There are four worlds split into four stages apiece, and Louise will hoof through each without a care. To jump, tap anywhere on the left half of the screen; to shoot, tap anywhere on the right half. Simple and responsive! [embed]289538:57919:0[/embed] Your gun can be upgraded twice by collecting power-ups -- the first upgrade grants a double shot, while the second bestows the mighty spread shot. Raising the stakes even further is a jetpack item found in certain stages which transforms the action into a deadlier version of Jetpack Joyride. The 16 stages are rather short, so to compensate, they've been packed with enough enemies and obstacles to give your thumbs a proper workout. Between adjusting the height of your jumps to cross narrow platforms and hammering the trigger because your gun is not rapid-fire, you'll be feeling the burn before long! One small mercy is that Louise stops running if she hits a wall, so use the break to regain composure before hopping over and storming onward. For completionists, three gems can be found in each level. As expected, collecting these gems often requires you to skirt closer to death than you'd prefer. Case in point, you may reach a fork in the path, with one branch leading to a gem and the other to a power-up that would make the rest of the level less stressful. As concentrated as the challenge is, however, the overall length is still on the tragically low end -- on my first run, collecting the gems in all but two levels, I finished in just over an hour. There's even an achievement for clearing the game in under 10 minutes! Unless you are a serious achievement or high-score hunter, it's unlikely that you'll return to Jump'N'Shoot Attack once the credits roll. There's a solid foundation that I hope FreakZone will expand upon. Rayman Jungle Run got a free update that added more levels, so perhaps that's a possibility here as well. Could we maybe get some boss battles too? It's a shame to have a game that so clearly draws inspiration from Mega Man and Contra but skimps out on the meaty encounters that highlight those series. So will Jump'N'Shoot Attack spark a mobile renaissance and win over the hardcore masses? Probably not. Is it a solid runner that delivers a tough but responsive platforming experience as promised? Absolutely. Gold star for effort.
Jump'N'Shoot Attack photo
Something, something, Egoraptor reference
Four Christmases ago, I joined the smartphone brigade when I found an iPhone 4S nestled under the tree. Oh boy! I thought. Now I can grab all those iOS games that people can't shut up about! And for a couple of years, I was a...

Runbow photo
Runbow

Runbow for the Wii U still looks amazing, is still nine players


Loving it
Mar 05
// Chris Carter
After announcing a metric shit-ton of indie games during GDC week, Nintendo put out a new trailer for Runbow, the upcoming nine-player Wii U action platformer. There are seven modes available, including one that allows a pla...
Endless snowboarding photo
Endless snowboarding

Stylish endless snowboarder Alto's Adventure now on iPhone and iPad


It's nice when mobile games respect your time
Feb 19
// Jordan Devore
It's rare that I cover mobile games here but I couldn't let Alto's Adventure slide by me. This is pegged as an "endless snowboarding odyssey" with a one-button trick system and 180 goals to best. Other things worth noting be...
I'd tap that photo
I'd tap that

Combo Queen brings jiggle physics to an SNES aesthetic


I'd tap that
Jan 29
// Steven Hansen
It's not that animated breasts are all Combo Queen has going for it. They're just the first thing I noticed clicking around the trailer and ending up on a bouncy idle animation.  The pixel art here is rather lovely...

Review: Funk of Titans

Jan 16 // Chris Carter
Funk of Titans (Xbox One)Developer: A Crowd of MonstersPublisher: A Crowd of MonstersReleased: January 9, 2015MSRP: $12.49 Brett: So, I just finished Funk of Titans. That sure was something, huh? I'm not sure how a game can put something on a pedestal as the pinnacle of cool, and end up making it so abjectly uncool. But, that's sure what Funk of Titans did with funk. I guess it's no surprise that the lame, forced approach to context ended up wafting into the game design as well, right? Chris: Gurl, you said it. I booted it up thinking I'd get a funky take on Super Mario, and ended up getting an endless runner. A half-hearted mobile game on a console ain't so groovy. I can get down with the idea of Zeus as the Father of Funk, but the repetitive gameplay and two-button system is a snooze-fest. [embed]286144:56928:0[/embed] Brett: You need to look on the bright side, Carter! The two-button scheme frees your left hand up for all sorts of fun activities: waving to friends, fist-pumping, slapping yourself upside the head for playing Funk of Titans. Endless possibilities, really. But yeah, this really is a mobile game on a console, and it's a stale one at that. It's evident early on that the developers had a limited number of design tricks up their sleeve, so most levels end up feeling the exact same as others. And, that gets multiplied across more than forty stages. Forty! There's a difference between padding game length and flat-out wasting the player's time. This is the latter. Chris: And those forty stages take roughly three hours to do. That's too long! Since there really isn't a whole lot to unlock outside of cosmetic items, you feel cheated by the time you finish it -- like, I spent my afternoon playing this? The menus also felt like they were trying to sneak some in-app purchases in there somewhere. I tried to find the pay scheme for more than 10 minutes, I just had a feeling it was buried. But I guess ultimately the developers decided to charge $12.49 for it, possibly due to an elaborate equation that dictated each customer should spend twelve and a half dollars. Have we reached microtransaction equilibrium? Brett: You're giving them entirely too much credit. There was absolutely no elaborate thinking that took place in the development of Funk of Titans. That's wildly evident by the singular mini-game at the end of levels that's nothing more than a stripped-down Jetpack Joyride-esque collectathon. Seriously, I just started intentionally crashing because slogging through those for more useless currency was arguably a bigger time-waster than the unnecessary number of levels. Actually, wait. I take that back. By far the most phoned-in aspect of Funk of Titans was the SIX bosses throughout the game that are nothing more than Simon Says quick-time events. It's staggering how disparate these sections are from the rest of the experience, included only as resolution to the question "Does Funk rule supreme over all other forms of music?" (A question that no one really cared if it was asked.) Chris: It really could have been a good marquee runner title on consoles with a little more effort. Extra outfits with new powers, even slightly memorable characters, maybe some cheesy low-budget voice acting, and even a few memorable level concepts. I would have enjoyed myself with that setup for free with Games on Gold. Alas, it's really hard to recommend this to anyone but diehard runner fans. And even then, that's pushing it. Brett: My initial impression was that it's like Bit.Trip Runner if Bit.Trip Runner wasn't very good. That didn't change after playing for hours. There's something inherently sort of fun about the formula, even though it still manages to bore you to tears. It's a weird dynamic, but yeah, not one that's worth recommending to anyone. The reality is that Funk of Titans takes a lazy approach to nearly everything it does. It's a careless effort, and literally everything it has to offer has been done better by most other runners. And, in those other games, there's the added bonus that I don't have to listen to the phrase "Cool Daddy-o!" repeated until my ears bleed. Chris: I would be okay with never hearing "Daddy-o" ever again. But yeah, there aren't many runners on consoles, and the genre deserved better. They can be special at times and at the very least a fun time waster, but funk this. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Funk of Titans review photo
Funk this
Funk of Titans is not a very fun game. But Brett Makedonski and I had a lot of fun talking about it.

Boson X on Steam photo
Boson X on Steam

Science-themed runner Boson X coming to Steam tomorrow


Play as a scientist studying particle physics in a non-Gordon Freeman way
Sep 15
// Darren Nakamura
After hearing about it from iOS users, I was excited late last year when Boson X first came to Android, my mobile platform of choice. A few months later, I finished the six levels included in the Android version and discover...
New Meat Boy photo
New Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy Forever is a runner, Mew-Genics on hold


Coming to PC and mobile, not just an endless runner
Aug 29
// Steven Hansen
[Update: Edmund McMillen wrote a blog post to explain that Super Meat Boy Forever uses auto run, but is not an endless runner. So it's more like Bit.Trip Runner than anything. Though there is an endless mode with da...
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Space Werewolves claw their way on board Windows Store, run infinitely


Infinity Runner launches on Windows Store
Aug 29
// Rob Morrow
Originally launching on Steam in mid-July, Wales Interactive's sci-fi themed, werewolf-infested Infinity Runner is now available for purchase on the Windows Store. Infinity Runner, an aptly named running game, is&n...
I've Got To Run photo
I've Got To Run

I've Got to Run! weekend sale supports The Trevor Project


Pre-orders for PC, Mac, and Linux port do too!
Jul 12
// Jonathan Holmes
In celebration of the GamerX event going on this weekend, I've Got To Run! creator Syrenne McNulty has put her game on sale for $1.19 ($1.29 in Canada) until Sunday, July 13th. All proceeds from the sale will go towards The T...
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But you don't have to take my word for it...
Sometimes, when I check my email, I find wonderful things like messages from friends and family, beta invites, or announcements that something I ordered has shipped. Sometimes, I find a pile of press releases. Sometimes they'...

Forrest Gump photo
Forrest Gump

Of course there's a Forrest Gump endless runner called Run Forrest Run


That missing comma is going to kill me
Jun 25
// Brett Makedonski
Remember that part in Forrest Gump where he ran through the desert collecting coins with smiley faces on them? Obviously you do; it was the best part of the movie! Well, thanks to absolutely anything and everything being...
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Just what you wanted to hear, Flappy Bird news!


You're so excited to read this!
May 17
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen spoke with CNBC where he revealed Flappy Bird will be coming back this August. The new version will add multiplayer, and will be less addictive than the original. Nguyen also said the original ...
Action Henk photo
Action Henk

Action Henk hitting Steam Early Access on June 18


No, not the one from Dexter's Laboratory
May 14
// Brittany Vincent
Look! It's Action Hank! I mean, Action Henk! Man, for a minute there I thought we were talking about Dexter's favorite action figure from Dexter's Laboratory back in the day. We're actually talking a speedrunner/platformer t...
Bit.Trip photo
Bit.Trip

Runner2 discounted to celebrate one million copies sold


The groove is in the heart
Mar 13
// Jordan Devore
Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien recently turned a year old. I know, I know -- you aren't impressed by the aging process. The rhythm-centric platformer also celebrated another milestone: selling one mi...
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Reversed platform runner Spoiler Alert challenges you to unwin the game


Cats and dogs living together
Mar 10
// Conrad Zimmerman
TinyBuild has announced today that they'll be working with Danish developer MEGAFUZZ to release Spoiler Alert, an auto-run platform game which plays in reverse. Beginning at the end of the game, already completed, players ar...
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Codemasters released a new endless racer for mobile


It's called Drive: USA and it's free
Jan 14
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Codemasters has stealthily released an endless racer for the App Store. It's called Drive: USA, and it's only available through the Singapore App Store at the moment. It sure looks like a racing game, eh? I do find it a little funny that after so many endless runners, this is the first time I'm seeing one with cars. I mean, it looks ... alright. Eh, it's free, don't complain.
Joe Danger Infinity photo
Joe Danger Infinity

Joe Danger Infinity coming to iOS January 9


Come hell or high water
Jan 06
// Steven Hansen
The affable team behind Joe Danger and the exciting, upcoming No Man's Sky had its offices flooded over the holidays. We're talking, "a biblical amount." In fact, the water is apparently still rising as the team, relocated to...
Buddy & Me photo
Buddy & Me

Cute runner Buddy & Me debuts on Android for free


Price goes up at the end of this weekend
Dec 20
// Darren Nakamura
Back in April, we first heard about Sunbreak Games, a studio founded by former Metroid Prime and Halo 4 designer Jason Behr. As a bit of a curveball, Sunbreak's first title would break from Behr's tradition of sci-fi first-pe...
Runner 2 Vita impressions photo
Runner 2 Vita impressions

Runner 2 plays exactly how you would expect on the Vita


And that's only a good thing
Dec 19
// Brett Zeidler
Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien launched very early on in the year for just about every platform under the sun. We reviewed it, and really liked it. Not long after that, Gaijin Games announced that R...
Runner2 on Vita photo
Runner2 on Vita

Runner2 releasing on Vita in less than a week


I heard you like running, so we put Runner2 on a portable so you can run while you run...
Dec 12
// Darren Nakamura
The PlayStation Vita keeps proving itself to be a serious contender for independent games, with titles like Terraria, Rogue Legacy, and Spelunky either already on the platform or in the works. To add to that list, Gaijin...
Boson X photo
Boson X

For science! Boson X is available on Android now


Particle physics for the rest of us
Nov 26
// Darren Nakamura
Most of the people I interact with who are into mobile gaming are on iOS, so as an Android user I frequently hear about cool games that I cannot play. Boson X used to fall into that category, as a title that has been availab...

Review: Rayman Fiesta Run

Nov 07 // Chris Carter
Rayman Fiesta Run (Android, iOS [reviewed on an iPhone 5])Developer: UbisoftPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: November 7, 2013MSRP: $1.99 It's not hard to grasp the concept of Fiesta Run -- you start a level, Rayman runs automatically, you jump around and avoid obstacles until you reach the end, then you repeat the process. Just like Jungle Run, your goal is to collect 100 Lums (coins, essentially) in each level, which earns you a star rating dependent on how many you grabbed. After collecting all 100, you'll unlock a new, more difficult rendition of the stage, but otherwise, stars are used to unlock spaces on a "track" similar to Final Fantasy X's sphere grid (but without the option to choose your path). If you want access to a new level, you'll need to do well enough to fill the track -- a stark departure from Jungle Run, which simply allowed you to continue on at will. What this "track" system does is essentially gate progress until you've performed at a certain level. While it isn't a major issue early in the game, later on it becomes more of a problem, and unlocking everything requires you to get full perfects throughout. If every single level was a joy to play it would be fine, but since a few are devoid of life, playing them over and over to earn the right to get to the good stuff can be frustrating. [embed]264879:51196:0[/embed] Then you add a light microtransaction system to the mix, allowing you to purchase extra Lums to unlock new cosmetic content and power-ups. It's never as much of a nuisance as the gated level system is, but it's there, and feels out of place compared to the in-app-purchase-free launch of Jungle Run (which has since added IAPs, funnily enough). But while this scheme can weigh down the fun at times, the good news is Fiesta Run is still enjoyable overall. All of the core gameplay is preserved from the original, in the sense that it feels less like a soulless "endless runner," and more like a legitimate platformer that happens to have an auto-run system. It uses a simple control scheme that just works, and should provide hours of entertainment to even the most staunch touch-screen haters. Fiesta Run isn't really a difficult or deep game in any sense, unless you're going for a perfect 100 score on every level. At that point it becomes insanely difficult, as you go for run after run, missing that one tiny Lum up in the corner somewhere, forcing you to do the entire level over again until you get it right. It's an odd design for sure, especially since an increasing amount of games let you keep your progress after revising a level to encourage completion. For the most part, the game reuses assets from its counterparts (in a good way), but each stage makes an effort to mix things up to the point where it doesn't get too stale. Once you pick up more abilities such as the hover power and the punch attack, levels open up a bit more as well beyond a "Point A to B" course. Though the actual stylistic themes change quite often, the soundtrack employs the same few tunes over and over, leading me to mute-city occasionally. Rayman Fiesta Run flirts with the concept of unacceptable microtransactions, but thankfully, there's still a ton of bang for your buck here if you can deal with the progression requirements. With a wonderful set of visuals and an even better control scheme, Rayman fans have a lot to be excited about.
Rayman Fiesta Run photo
A fiesta and a siesta
Rayman Jungle Run was a perfect example of how to adapt a console game to a touch interface. It gorgeously preserved the sharp visuals from its console counterpart, and best of all -- it used a control scheme that actually wo...


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