For the 7th entry in our little rundown of the best games of the year so far, I’ve looked to a classic mobile genre – the auto-runner. There was a time when it felt like just about every new release on the App Store was a runner. While that’s no longer the case, we still see enough of them that it’s fairly tricky for one in particular to stand out from the crowd. And Scorcher, the latest release from Radiangames, manages to do just that.
This one’s all about the visuals and evolving soundtrack that gracefully ebbs and flows throughout each canyon-like level. There’s a transfixing quality to the wavy, hazy look of everything, and it all comes together to form an audiovisual delight like no other.
In terms of gameplay, it functions as a very stripped-down runner – demanding rapid-fire reaction times for dodges and jumps. Careening past giant sandworms is an absolute thrill, and the mounting challenge in every stage allows Scorcher to well and truly get its hooks in. Though, much like “rhythm violence” masterpiece Thumper, the basic gameplay soars with the support of that adrenaline-pumping aesthetic.
Plus, thanks to the recent inclusion of 2 new canyons and a number of smart gameplay refinements, the game is in a much better place than it was at launch (not that it was at all bad to begin with). It’s an extremely easy recommendation for fans of the genre or even those who have long since tired of runners. And there is enough here that is exciting and impactful to make dealing with its stressful nature totally worthwhile. Check it out.