Don't Run With a Plasma Sword Review

By , on December 5, 2011

Don't Run With A Plasma Sword
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Unlocked move set allows for complex maneuvering; higher skill-cap for hardcore players.
  • Single-player mode gives the game focus while earning 'xp'.
  • Fun Bit.Trip Runner-like boss fights.


  • Unlockable 'costumes' don't really add flavor to the experience; basic palette swaps instead of interesting personalizations.
  • Distracting mix of aesthetics; detailed designs interact poorly with simplistic or overly colorful ones - easy to be distracted or misled.


If you're going to be an 'endless runner', take a page out Don't Run With a Plasma Sword's book and try to provide an experience that goes beyond mindless platforming; while it still suffers from the genre's weaknesses, it's a great title for those after truly competitive high-scoring.

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By now you're either a fan or a hater of the endless side-scrolling platformers that inevitably crop up each week on the App Store. While some innovate in varying degrees, there's a limit to how often one can take on the same challenge over and over with little motivation. Don't Run With a Plasma Sword by XperimentalZ Games doesn't try to revolutionize the genre, but instead it tries to address the base concerns of the genre with mixed success.

Of note, simply jumping in to an endless challenge has its upsides (novelty of a new experience), but its downsides rapidly pile up as you quickly reach the tether limited by your ability and fight against it over and over. Don't Run With a Plasma Sword kicks things off with a single-player campaign, with four levels split in to six stages and a final boss level, providing a fixed challenge you can overcome with time.

The payoff for committing to this mode is earning enough experience to unlock new abilities, effectively changing the way the game is played. Jumping gains the usual double-jump, sliding gains the ability to attack, but players can also 'slide' in mid-air to dive and explode when hitting the ground or 'attack' and dash mid-air to eliminate enemies and dodge hazards. What this creates is a high skill cap where players who master the controls are rewarded with an extremely nimble character, making it possible to blast your way up the high-score leaderboards in a snap.

Those less skilled with the controls aren't completely left behind as power-ups and objectives help to close the gap, but there's no substitute for being able to smoothly transition out of a dash, in to a dive while attacking an enemy before resuming a double-jump glide for a gold star.

That said, the game ultimately falls in to the same trap as other endless games as it struggles to retain the player's interest despite dangling goodies such as unlockable costume customizations for the player. Also, extended play isn't generally recommended as the cluttered visuals can be tiresome on the eyes.

Ultimately, Don't Run With a Plasma Sword is a polished example of the genre, but it's unlikely to convert those who regularly avoid endless runners on the App Store.


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