Sunday, January 29, 2012

'Run Roo Run' Review

            Run Roo Run is a charming little game by 5th Cell (developers of Scribblenauts) that sets the short story of a loving kangaroo mother attempting to get her joey back (even though it looks like a loving couple). Roo’s poor joey has been kidnapped and shipped off to Sydney, and it’s your job to trek across Australia to save the poor joey. The game uses a basic one-touch control to make Roo jump on, off, and over obstacles to reach his goal.

            Run Roo Run’s core gameplay is all about timing. By using its simple, but magnificently executed one-tap-does-all controls, you maneuver Roo to leap across obstacles, jump onto springy tires, and latch onto swings and umbrellas to reach the goal. Make a mistake, and you’re back at the start. It’s a simple tap to make Roo jump, and he’ll automatically latch onto objects you’re supposed to hang onto. It’s just another tap to make him jump off. If you mess up your timing, guide arrows are in places where you jumped, so you’re able to time accordingly to where poor Roo took a hit. What’s fascinating about the game is that each level covers the length of only one screen, which makes each level take around 4 seconds to complete on a successful run. While it seems easy enough, the extreme levels require specifically timed taps in order to complete the level. This is the heart of the game. It’s the basic, yet challenging one-tap timing that brings out the best. The normal levels are easy enough for the casuals, and the extremely levels satisfy the hardcore. And no matter what level you beat, it’s always a satisfying feeling.

Art, Sound & Design
            The graphics are crisp and clean, with each of the obstacles outlined for the player’s clarity. Add this onto the cute kangaroo you’ve got jumping around, and you’ve got yourself a future plush toy.
            In contrast, the sound design is decent. There are times when Roo’s squeals will grate your ears a little bit, but it’s nothing that detracts from the game itself. The music is done well, though I’d like to see a stronger musical score for the levels.

            The overall game is fairly short, with 20 worlds at 15 normal levels and 6 extreme levels, for a total of 420 levels that last an average of 4 seconds a piece. The extreme levels will take several tries to get down, but it shouldn’t take more than few hours to gold star all 420 levels. 5th Cell has decided to release 10 new levels for (what appears to be) 18 weeks, so this should add some time to the life of the game. For a normal 99 cent game, it’s still a little short, but it does well enough.

            There’s really no reason not to buy Run Roo Run. Even though it’s on the short side, the addictive nature of the simple one-touch gameplay is enough to separate it from the simple distractions to a game that will be a strong contender for the end of the year awards. Run Roo Run is truly a gem.

Gameplay: 5/5
ASD: 4/5
Length: 3.5/5

Overall: 4.5/5


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