Sep 16, 2014
Honestly, I expect quite a bit from running titles. Give me cool graphics. Give me action.
Give me Once Upon a Runner?
I was sucked in somewhat by the artwork. It’s handcrafted, and the dark looks mostly underscore the developer’s design motif. The graphics highlight the basic left to right running action that is almost ubiquitous with regards to runners, and the animations are smooth. The 2D presentation is different from the top-down view that is favored by a lot of developers in this genre, but it works well.
The gameplay isn’t one to lollygag; it gets right to it. There are two modes (story and endless); after the all too short tutorial, which highlights the virtual control mechanism, the game gets going with “real” running. Our heroine can jump over obstacles like boulders and ditches, while conversely she can slide under baddies like branches and birds the appear along the runway. What I think makes the game a bit different than the norm is rate at which the obstacles appear right off the bat; it gets really busy very quickly. Additionally, there are plenty of goodies and boosts to pick up as well: extra lives, timed invulnerability and more. There is a rechargeable ball of fire that can be used to destroy some obstacles, and there is only a set number of hits our runner can take before succumbing to clumsiness.
The game sports six levels, and even finds a way to incorporate bosses and varying difficulty levels. The end result is a leveled, scored survival quest which cleverly includes some elements of twitch reactions to keep the game fun. Gems can be acquired to gain assets from the in-app store, and this can be supplemented with real cash.
I wasn’t a fan of the control layout; the way the slide and jump buttons are stacked tends to make me either glance away from the action to the controls, or simply mishit controls periodically. On the other hand, I like the quick action sets, and the addition of secondary characters to the gameplay.
All in all, it’s a fun game, and no doubt should end up on the “favorite” list of many a mobile gamer.
Once Upon a Runner Review Rundown
Download: App available at the Google Play Store »