Update: A recent update has addressed some of the early issues that gamers have experienced. Evidently, collision detection has been improved, jump animations are quicker, and the swipe controls are now joined by buttons as an alternative method of controlling our hero. Restarting the level is now faster and the camera has been pulled back a bit to give you a better chance to recognize avoidable objects and react accordingly. Even the bug that caused the main character to fire one of his precious few bullets at the beginning of the game has been squashed. We are still experiencing some control issues, but this update appears to be a step in the right direction, leading us to nudge our initial review score up a bit. Hopefully, continued support and tweaks will make a world of difference and continue rComplex’s upward trend.
rComplex, a quirky endless runner from InterWave Studios, is now available from the app store. Despite its stylish graphics and solid core concept, rComplex suffers from a number of small issues that compound to create a less-than-enthralling debut.
- Stylish graphics and smooth animations
- Catchy soundtrack
- Core premise is good
- Control issues lead to a great deal of frustration
- Monster behavior is unfair
- No social gaming network integration
- Story becomes repetitive and annoying
We are treated to a simple premise, as our silhouetted protagonist awakens with amnesia and a similarly-silhouetted multi-tentacled monster hot on his heels. Armed with a shotgun sporting a scythe attachment, our hero must keep the monster at bay while leaping over green objects, sliding under blue objects, and capturing memory boxes to recover his fuzzy memories. We hear his voice echoing as he questions what is happening, how he got where he is, etc. It works the first couple of times that you play, but hearing the same phrases over and over again really gets annoying after a while. It is clear why this genre doesn’t incorporate much of a story. Who wants to hear the beginning of a story over and over again without ever making much progress beyond a certain point? Of course, the lack of progress is due mostly to control issues. Swiping up or down should lead to jumps and slides that prevent you from stumbling over path-blocking obstacles, but the time it takes the hero to react, the quickness with which the item is upon him, and the wonky collision detection combine to cause him to stumble over most items regardless of our intervention. Also, the monster is constantly gaining on you, regardless of your skill in avoiding objects. You can tap the screen to shoot at the approaching tentacles, knocking it back a touch and buying a couple of precious seconds, but your ammo is quite limited and he’ll eventually catch you. You can use your scythe the first time to cut yourself free and resume your journey, but a second capture will mean certain death unless you pick up an extra scythe along the way. There are also infrequent ammo drops that will give you a few extra shots with your gun. We would have liked to see the monster handled like the monkeys in Temple Run, which only gain on the protagonist when he gets tripped up or grates along a wall. The way the tentacled-monster makes up ground is just plain unfair.
Graphically, rComplex has style to spare. We loved the mostly red-on-black theme, which allows the avoidable items to stand out. Using silhouetted figures adds even more to the mystery. The animations are fluid and the gameplay can get intense, as you gauge whether to take a shot at the monster or hold off a bit longer to conserve ammo. Random ammo/scythe drops can come at the most opportune times, avoidable objects appear at the most inopportune, memory boxes are few and far between, and zen mode can be a huge relief. If only the controls worked as advertised, this would be a killer game. As it stands, if you really concentrate and get lucky, you can get through a couple of levels, though it will likely take way more attempts than you’d think. The catchy soundtrack is one of the bright points.
Replay value in its current state is very limited, as there are no additional game modes nor leaderboards to top. The sole focus is on the single game mode and it’s a huge bear to play without a significant update to fix the control responsiveness and possibly make the monster’s behavior match that of villains in other offerings in the same genre. A universal app for $0.99, rComplex is a disappointing 2.5-Dimple challenge with a good deal of potential.