Rock Runners Narrowly Misses Getting Crushed From Repetitive Gameplay

Universal
3.5
 

Rock Runners

Publisher(s)  Chillingo Ltd
Developer(s)  Recoil Games

Platform(s) Reviewed  iPod Touch (4th Gen) • Genre(s)  Games • Action • Adventure • Speed Run • Platformer • Release Date  Feb 14, 2013 • Version Reviewed  1.0.1 • Price (as reviewed)  99¢

Pros    Beautiful 3D graphics  •   Fast paced gameplay  •  Great sense of depth while playing    Cons    Repetitive levels  •  Not much sense of progression  •  Not a perfect balance of difficulty

 

rock-runners_575506874_02Rock Runners is Chillingo’s latest game, and has received a fair amount of recognition directly following its release.

The main objective is for you to traverse across different worlds, collecting fuel cells to power up your ship and unlock new areas. As soon as I began playing Rock Runners it was immediately apparent to me that the visuals were highly polished, and then polished some more. I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how much depth the background on each level has.

You begin the game playing as a wacky helmeted character, Hasty Harry. Once you enter World One you are presented with a level selection screen along the same lines as a Super Mario game. To progress forwards you must beat the current level, however sometimes when you complete a level you will be provided with two alternate paths. One is usually marked harder than the other, and may require a set amount of “keys” to be unlocked. These “keys” can be obtained through gameplay or as reasonable priced In App Purchases.

rock-runners_575506874_06Each level is very frantic, and the longer you go without colliding with an obstacle the faster you’ll speed up. Your goal is to reach the end without dying, and hopefully without running into something, or “stumbling” as the game calls it. Every time you “stumble” you immediately slow down. The entire game can be controlled with one finger, simply tapping the screen to jump, however in certain instances (grappling hooks), you may need to touch and hold the screen.

Obstacles can be summarized into three different categories. Spikes, boxes and evil robots, these can all be easily jumped over. Grappling hooks; once you grab hold of one you just need to release your finger to let go. Finally, portals, the element that is my personal favorite. What’s really neat and unique about this game is that if you misjudge a jump you will not automatically die. Nine times out of ten the game will force you to run into a portal, teleporting you a little farther back into the level. Sometimes portals will even allow you to increase your best time, if used correctly.

rock-runners_575506874_03The game boasts that it contains over 140 levels, however you’ll quickly come to realize that each level is almost identical in terms of gameplay elements and environment, they are just shuffled a bit. It’s almost impossible to tell one world from the other. I think a sense of progression is very important in a game, and when you can’t tell the difference between level one and level forty it’s not very satisfying. Each level does contain three different objectives for you to complete, but they seem to be almost along the same lines each time (ie. collect percentage of stars, beat a specific time and don’t hit any toxic goo).

Rock Runners is priced at $0.99 and contains only subtle I.A.P’s, all of which can be purchased with an in game currency that is easily earned during normal gameplay.

In Conclusion

Rock Runners is a very solid game that boasts mesmerizing graphics coupled with a solid soundtrack. They combine together to create an atmosphere that leaves you feeling truly in the game while playing. The downside is that there doesn’t seem to be that magic level of difficulty. At times Rock Runners feels overly easy, at others frustratingly hard. Also the gameplay is repetitive with almost no new elements being revealed after the first few levels. Overall, Rock Runners is a fun, challenging game that should keep you entertained for at least a few hours of fast-paced and fun gameplay.