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Going the distance ? Reviewing some infinite runners

So recently on my other blog I've ended up doing a glut of reviews for infinite runners and looking particularly at the mobile gaming market where there runners tend to have settled best and as I'm kind of new to this world of Mobile gaming (Yes I played Snake and simulants revenge but I mean the slightly bigger mobile gaming scene now). I thought now owning a Kindle fire it might be worth looking at some.

all these reviews are of the kindle fire version though they are also available on most Android and IOS devices too.

Name: Angry Gran
Cost: Free (Ad supported) (Micro Transaction supported)
Review bit:
The idea behind this game is you play as Angry Gran furious over cuts to her pension, so she goes out on the street and decided she’s had enough of the rest of the world and wants her dues now. How she goes about getting what she sees as her dues is using a variety of objects to brutally beat people and break things. Pressing on the screen charges up her attack, the higher the charge the more cash you get. The game relies on you releasing the swing at the right moment to hit enemies and avoiding hitting the police or you end up in a straight jacket for a while. The main goal is to collect enough money before the next checkpoint to keep going.

Ok that’s enough being professional, now for the bit everyone comes here for, the rage and grumbling about the game. Firstly Angry Gran is add supported so you need to go online to play it, which unless you’re managing to use a wi-fi network then you’re going to be using your data allowance (Though as I played this on a kindle fire it’s wi-fi only anyway.). Next is the fact while a free game that’s add supported it does really try hard to sell you the microtransaction items with the hints screen regularly displaying “Did you know if you bought the most expensive item in the store you could unlock everything in the game” To which I then have to question why anyone would then want t play this ? You see the idea behind playing and getting money is you can upgrade gran herself or buy items for her, each with special effects.

Upgrade wise there’s Discount, Power and recovery. Discount as you’d expect discount upgrades and items for you. Power means you get more cash. Recovery is a weird one though as if you swing and miss you have 10 seconds or so before Gran can charge another swing. That’s right in a runner game when you start out, if you miss a swing you have to sit and watch able to do nothing for about 10 seconds. Well that’s just great isn’t it what a brilliant game design choice to actually force you to sit doing nothing for 10 seconds and worse than that it seems very borderline if you hit or miss as even having the bat go right through enemies sometimes it counted as a miss while when I seemingly swung too early and missed I got a hit. Oh and to top all this crap off the game crashed on me about 3 times randomly on the menus.

Verdict: It’s hard to say a game that’s free is bad. In this case I will as while I can’t say it’s not worth you money (though the items definitely aren’t) this game isn’t even worth the time or install space for it as it is a rather blatant cash grab with little to no redeeming features or variety to the game. A Game which in itself is tedious and barely able to be classed as a game. Even compared to a cow clicker title.

The Score: 0 out of 6

Name: Temple Run 2
Cost: Free (Micro transaction supported)
Review bit: Well It’s another runner game on the kindle fire and this time it’s the sequel to what was considered one of the better, or at least more popular runners. The present incarnation begins with you grabbing a jewel and running from some monster, guardian of the jewel. You go down a zip line and the game really begins. You slide under fallen logs, flamethrower statues and concrete beams. You move left and right to collect jewels and go along small ledges along with avoiding ancient ruins, touching the ancient ruins re summons the monster. Once the monster is chasing you, moving left or right to collect coins will sometimes result in the monster catching you, hence you don’t want the monster there as it means less money collecting for you. Another thing you have to do is jump obstacles, such as rivers, broken bridges, concrete structures or revolving barrels covered in spikes or just to grab a zip line. The final thing you have to do is pick directions, at intersections you have to pick left or right or you simply run off a ledge or into a tree. On certain paths on the fairly procedurally generated levels you’ll find a jewel, these act as currency for various things including the continues.

Falling for any of the traps results in the option to continue, initially costing one gem then if you hit another one its 2 gems, luckily this cost resets each run. The money you earn goes into either unlocking one of the three locked characters, each with their own abilities which can be switched out, or put into upgrades such as higher value coins or quicker activating power ups. To earn experience to level up which also gives rewards you get given some objectives to help vary up the gameplay such as going X distance without collecting coins or simply getting past a certain distance, or even using options such as the head start or multiple save me uses.

The problems however come pretty quick enough. Firstly the power activation is unresponsive and sluggish compared to the rest of the game and often you’ll find despite the responsiveness the game does latter have a tendency to pull some fairly cheap deaths such as a pit just out of sight round a corner, requiring you to have jumped as you turned the corner. The game also only runs with the kindle vertically rather than allowing you to play with it orientated Horizontally. My final complaints are that the missions don’t really help in stopping the game becoming tedious and that it offers head starts in game without telling you that it will drain your coins. Honestly I’d have preferred if they just left the headstart option in the store and not had it pop up in game.

The different thing in this one is the minecart sections where you have to pick the right direction to avoid blocked caves, along with ducking under fallen beams and tiling the cart to go over sections with a single rail. The games graphics are also a bit above the standard level of most runners.

Verdict: A rather good looking game which despite trying to mix things up seemingly falls into gameplay mediocrity fairly quickly. The unlockables are passable but the game really doesn’t do much beyond looking a little better graphically than most others. I’m not going to recommend it as it’s not really doing anything different other than graphics.


score 3 out of 6

Name: Jetpack Joyride
Cost: Free (Microtransaction supported)
Format: Kindle Fire (Also on other android devices and on IOS)
Review: Oddly I got recommended this game very early on by Amazon or at least it appeared in the free games shortlist. I thought what the hey it’s free and expected the worst. However Jetpack Joyride isn’t bad, in-fact it’s pretty damn good. For a Free game with a microtransaction business model they’ve actually given you so much content I never felt I was being pushed towards buying anything to keep going.

Jetpack Joyride is a very simple game, you play a guy who has stolen a military grade jetpack that works by firing two high powered miniguns at the floor, pressing the screen makes you rise and letting go sees you fall. It really is that damn simple and yet it manages to take such a simple concept and make it a huge deal. The Obstacles also seem simple with only 3, electric field wall things, missile and laser grids. Even the main aspects of the game are simple, collect coins and collect slot machine tokens, coins letting you buy some upgrades as well as single use items and slot tokens letting you play the slot machine at the end of a run. The slot machine is fun on its own making good use of the touch screen function so you’re pulling the handle. The true genius of the slot machine is the rather cool element of random chance it brings to the game, with some results giving; a few or a lot of extra coins, one giving more token to play on the slot machine, ones giving a small or large extra push so you cover a bit more distance, ones giving you a free single use head start item for your next run and even an option to revive yourself and carry on your present run.

However simple it’s how the game combines these features with the huge variety of missions and extra vehicles that really makes this game stand out. Each vehicle offers a different change to play; The lil stomper (a robot mech suit) lets you jump and glide with a jet engine under it, the badass hog lets you jump and comes with a shotgun, the teleport chamber as the name suggests lets you teleport about(even balancing this with it being timing related), the profit bird seeing you press to flap and climb, the dragon which only descents when you press. It’s things like this that add depth to the game and also give you the chance to take an extra hit before faceplanting the floor.

The Missions it must be said are where this game excels beyond all others with a star system and missions with varying star rewards. There are the standard mission like “Get X far”, “Collect X coins”, “Avoid collecting coins for x distance” However it throws in ones such as; “High five 5 scientists” “slide 5 metres along the floor on your face”, “Scrape your head on the ceiling for 50 metres”, “Near miss 5 missiles”, “Die at this point on the level” and my personal favourite “Hit 5 lights”. The thing is normally if it’s a run with a rather specific objective the game will set itself up in such a way to make that objective possible, say for missile close calls, it will have lots of ! marks coming up alerting of lots of incoming missiles, more so than a normal run.

The upgrades themselves also don’t seem like flat power upgrades, often they are silly things like No scientists on the level or if you hit something instead of just dropping to the floor you gain a hamster ball style cover round you that lets you bounce a short distance alone the floor, and thus have a better chance at distance based objectives.

Verdict: For a free game, the variety it offers and how little it tries to push you to buy coin or token packs and how little grind you feel while playing I have to say I recommend this game. It only misses a perfect score because it can get boring if you play for extended periods beyond about 1-2 hours at a time , however each time you come back its still fresh and enjoyable


score 5 out of 6
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About Dwavenhobbleone of us since 8:33 AM on 06.19.2012

A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )
Xbox LIVE:hobblejp
Steam ID:dwavenhobble


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