Random Runners, an auto-runner from Ravenous Games, is now available from the app store. Despite employing a similar art style as many of their other offerings, Random Runners fails to excite or intrigue us in any way.
Random Runners Pros:
- Retains old school pixel-art style
- Nearly four dozen campaign levels and an Endless mode
- Chiptune soundtrack dovetails with visual style nicely
- Several new characters and weapons to purchase
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
Random Runners Cons:
- Controls are non-customizable and often non-responsive
- Weapons are usually useless due to fixed firing plane and lack of time to kill enemies
- Gameplay is not exciting and characters feel too similar to each other
- Does not meet the Ravenous Games standard
Random Runners sees you taking control of one of about two dozen random heroes, making your way through fairly short levels containing spike pits, spiked balls, and a smattering of enemies. You have three buttons: jump, slide, and fire. Running is constant and automatic, forever sending you toward the right side of the screen, save for the infrequent wall-jumping opportunities. The responsiveness of the buttons was not great, and there were times that some buttons (menu buttons in particular) did not work at all. The jumping felt a little floaty and the game speed was a tad slow. We had to double-check that this was a Ravenous Games app, as we are so used to enjoying the super-tight controls of the League of Evil series. Your hero has three hearts worth of health, and each time he contacts an enemy or obstacle, he loses a heart.
The game felt tuned toward causing you to lose your hearts, as huge chasms can only be cleared if you jump at the very last second and rolling spike balls are rarely cleared cleanly due to a lack of jumping power. Missing the chasm jumps usually causes you to wall-jump back into a pit of spikes, which will sometimes cost you a couple of hearts by the time you get out. Firing your weapon will shoot bullets on a horizontal plane, which is pointless when enemies are moving up or down an incline toward you. You often don’t have enough time to do enough damage to an enemy before your auto-running pace sends you past him. Even when he explodes into coins, if you’ve already passed the enemy, you cannot stop and collect the coins. There are a bunch of other coins spread around the level, as well as stars and gems to collect. You’ll need both coins and gems to purchase new characters and guns, each with their own stats. Some characters can jump higher or have greater health ratings, while better guns do more damage. It’s pretty easy to earn the necessary currency to unlock these features, though the game just wasn’t enjoyable enough to keep us playing long enough to do so.
Graphically, the visuals are reminiscent of most other Ravenous Games offerings, which is always nice to see. We love the art style, which is this game’s best feature. The soundtrack employs a chiptune track that is fairly standard for Ravenous Games, too. We always look forward to the audio, as it dovetails well with the graphics. The controls were a definite shortcoming, and it took us a while to get used to the jump and slide buttons being on the left side of the screen. As the fire button was often an afterthought, we would have preferred that this appeared on the left. The fire and jump buttons would have felt more natural on the right. Despite many of its other offerings allowing you to customize the controls, we didn’t find a way to do so in Random Runners.
Replay value lies in returning to completed levels to collect stars that you may have missed the first time. You can also grind to obtain more coins and gems to purchase the more expensive shop items. There is an Endless mode, as well, which should appeal to high score junkies. GameCenter integration provides five leaderboards and more than a dozen achievements to snag. A universal app for $0.99, Random Runners is a below-average 2.5-Dimple disappointment.
Random Runners Review,