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If you search for endless runners on the App Store, you’ll find a slew of games in all sorts of settings, using a variety of people or animals as subjects. Buddy & Me is another one of those games, but rather than emphasize challenge and dynamic action, what sets it apart from the pack are its gorgeous art, less intense gameplay, and charming, light-hearted feel.
You play as a boy who dreams about running through the forest with a large, flying dog-like creature helping him. The backdrops, especially those at checkpoints, are really beautiful, and the game gives you a long time with no jumping required so you can soak them in. One thing you’ll notice immediately about Buddy & Me is that your character moves much slower than those in other running games. The game is also free of enemies or projectiles that can hinder progress. The only thing you have to do in Buddy & Me is jump from platform to platform, making use of Buddy's bouncy belly and the occasional tire swing to conquer the large gaps, all while collecting stars and bunnies.
Once you collect enough stars to fill a meter, you can ride on Buddy for a limited amount of time – which seems clearly inspired by The Neverending Story – enabling you to move faster and more easily through the world. Collecting bunnies is similar to collecting extra lives, as they will save you if you fall, plus they also add time to the clock at each checkpoint. Power-ups including boosts, extra time, and extra stars are scattered throughout the levels as well.
Buddy & Me moves at a much breezier and less demanding pace than the average runner, but that proves a positive here, thanks to the alluring presentation and child-like wonder within. However, there really isn't any extra content beyond the base game. Since you can return to the boy's bedroom after each level, it would have been nice to be able to customize it a bit. That would make the sticker shock a bit easier to deal with, since many genre entries are free downloads.
The bottom line. Though the charming Buddy & Me is clearly designed with kids in mind, it can be fun for adults too, especially those who like a slower-paced affair that feels more relaxed and casual.
iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later
Gorgeous artwork and charming approach. Pace is appropriate for both kids and adults.
No real content beyond the base game.