It makes a strange kind of sense that you’d send inhumanly tall and athletic pro basketball players to ward off an alien invasion, as is the offbeat hook for the fun (but generic), free-to-play endless runner, NBA Rush. All 90 players are licensed from the 30 current NBA team rosters, and are modeled in a rough likeness to their real-world selves, right down to their respective signature dunking styles. There’s little to distinguish them beyond aesthetics, however.
Strike Force Heroes: Extraction is a noble – if uneven – attempt to replicate the classic side-scrolling console shooter. Likely due to the complexity of its control scheme, the genre hasn’t often been particularly well served on iOS devices, but Strike Force Heroes (HD iPad version reviewed; also available separately on iPhone) has found a few clever shortcuts. The result is fun to play in short bursts, even if the smoothness of some controls makes some of the weaker spots more glaring.
Unlike its comparatively breezy predecessor, Rayman Fiesta Run has teeth. The mechanics haven’t significantly changed, and the game is still as amusing and beautifully presented as before, but a revised level progression and brutally precise platform action make for an absorbing and terrifically challenging experience. Even if you’re not the type to play and replay stages for high scores or collectables, Fiesta Run will pinpoint your perfectionist streak and make you leap and lunge until every last glowing Lum is in hand.
Bit.Trip Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is arguably one of the best games to hit Mac this year, so the debut of a gorgeous iOS version is more than welcomed. And for the most part, Bit.Trip Run! manages to carry over the intense platforming action while attempting to keep things working on a touch screen. But amid all of that fantastic gameplay, you'll sadly find a game that isn't quite ready for prime time, and desperately needs an update to smooth over some notable issues.
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.
It’s hard to say whether or not Boson X is truly inspired by the April discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle, which physicists believe explains why matter has mass. There’s theoretically some common ground. Whereas Higgs, which can supposedly explain the Big Bang, remained elusive to physicists for the past 50-plus years, Boson X is also about the discovery of new experimental subatomics, presumably for a greater understanding – or at least the self-serving satisfaction of winning. But the similarities between the so-called God particle and this ostensibly geeky behind-the-back runner unsurprisingly end there.
The seemingly blissful union of Adult Swim and developer Pik Pok has resulted in some wonderfully weird iOS affairs, including Robot Unicorn Attack 2, Monsters Ate My Condo, and Extinction Squad – and Giant Boulder of Death only continues that trend. Kicking off with the titular stone seeing its beloved counterpart carved into a statue of a military dictator, the game finds you indiscriminately rolling forth for vengeance through soldiers, spiked barricades, and innocent wildlife alike.
RunBot (out this Thursday) is a game about urgency and immediacy that tests how well you can multitask under pressure. Playing as a fugitive robot running away from his creators, you must dodge obstacles, lasers, and enemy drones, all while picking up batteries to ensure you don’t run out of power. It’s an endless runner that rewards you the more you play, and its easy controls and fast-paced gameplay luckily make it difficult to put down.
In an overnight update, the immensely popular free-to-play endless runner Temple Run 2 added the first guest character in series history today – and it's Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who owns multiple world records, including the fastest-ever 100-meter sprint (9.58 seconds). While this might seem like an ideal opportunity for a free promotional addition, or something to reward die-hard players who have racked up a bundle of gems or coins to spend on a new runner, unlocking Bolt requires an in-app purchase of $0.99.
Pac-Man is in the midst of a renaissance right now; between multiple video games built to support an upcoming cartoon launch, the character is headed in a lot of different directions at once. Pac-Man Dash! is his latest iOS incarnation, and it's an endless runner with some enjoyable gameplay mechanics — and also a few missteps in its approach to in-app purchases.