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With a name like Marvel Run Jump Smash!, it’s fair to expect something lively and exciting — which isn’t typically a tall task for the iconic Marvel Comics heroes featured in this side-scrolling endless runner. But despite taking its cues from genre greats like Jetpack Joyride and Punch Quest (and pairing that blend with a cute cartoonish aesthetic), this licensed affair can’t help but feel dull and dopey, thanks in large part to its laboriously slow progression system.
You’ll start each sprint not as a super-powered hero, but rather as Nick Fury or Maria Hill, one of the notable Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Once you begin trampling ahead, however, you’ll notice icons with the faces of familiar comic leads, like Captain America, Iron Man, or Black Widow. Snag one and you’ll take his or her form instead until the limited window of time expires — or you run into an enemy or obstacle. Whether controlling a hero or a mere human, the experience is largely the same: you’ll tap to jump (or tap and hold to hover as Iron Man) over gaps, around hazards, and atop common foes, or occasionally hit a virtual button to shoot a simple projectile or less common special attack.
Jetpack Joyride’s influence is most strongly felt, both in the waves of coins you’ll collect and the various obstacles that line your path; even the visual design is strongly reminiscent of that iOS favorite, though for some reason the heroes and backdrops here lack crispness. But while it may mimic that App Store classic, Marvel Run Jump Smash! maintains none of its fun or intensity. The pace is sluggish, the hazards are predictable and repetitive, and progress comes so slowly that it kills any potential momentum here.
In-game currency is handed out sparingly, while upgrades are meager and pricey. Any hope of unlocking premium characters like Spider-Man or Hawkeye without spending real money is quickly dashed when you see the pittance of gold bars awarded for a solid run. Without meaningful unlockables or advancements – or even particularly interesting sights – this comic romp loses steam quickly.
The bottom line. Marvel Run Jump Smash! contains everything promised in its title, but leaves out the fun and excitement.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7.0 or later
Cute cartoonish aesthetic. Get to control a handful of heroes in each run.
Slow and repetitive feel to the action. Meager rewards for play paired with exceedingly minor upgrades, while bonus heroes are locked behind huge pay walls. Odd fuzziness to the graphics.