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Rock Runners Review

By , on February 15, 2013


Rock Runners
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Manages to nail a perfect sense of 'flow', hooking and engaging the player despite its simplicity.
  • Gorgeous environments rendered in a clean and colorful cartoonish style.
  • One-touch gameplay means anyone can jump in and play.

CONS

  • Game only occasionally adds to the complexity of its gameplay, limiting the depth of challenge; often repeated 'subsections' in stages of an area don't help either.

VERDICT

Rock Runners is a rock-solid bite-sized platformer that may err on the side of being too 'casual', but much like any other snack you get a burst of enjoyment each time you chow down on a level and can't help but plow in to the next one immediately.


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Where Rayman Jungle Run didn't hold back the punches even despite the utterly brain-dead single-touch controls it uses, Rock Runners by Recoil Games and Chillingo gives players a 'Get out of Jail' card in just about every pitfall and hazard it throws at you. However, where in other games this would remove the challenge and thus impetus for completing a level, Rock Runners retains a sense of flow and keeps throwing hazards at you.

In a way, the safety net it provides for the player is almost a pressure valve for the demands the game places on the player. Tap once to jump, tap once more to latch on to and swing on a hook point; that's all you have to do, but with multiple hazards ranging from industrial waste, pits and enemies to look out for each second, the pressure would force you to quit if it wasn't so lenient.

Each stage only requires the player to make it to the end, but along the way there are gems to collect as well. These can be spent on basic upgrades that are cheap enough to maintain when needed, and when upgraded they provide yet more safety nets for the player to lean on.

Your speedy cave running avatar can also collect keys to be used on the overworld map to unlock additional stages. The path to the end of an area is not set in stone either as you'll need to scour the significantly sized areas for 'power' sources to use on the final stage, your spaceship. This gives the game a fun meta-game of exploring the area, gaining significant handfuls of gems in the process to spend on more upgrades; better still it helps to equip you for the deadly 'skull' zones that are all too ready to crank up the challenges you need to overcome.

Still, despite all this the game remains unchallenging to complete. Its appeal comes directly from its more-ish simplicity where getting a smooth run and retaining the flow of a run is more addictive than the rewards you get from the end. This makes Rock Runners an interesting beast, but an enjoyable one none-the-less.

Screenshots

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