App O’ The Mornin’: Mr. Runner Review

As far as I’m concerned, you can keep almost every “run-to-the-right” game in the app store. If there’s one (other than Canabalt) that has some hidden element of wonderfulness, please let me know.

I say “almost every” one because I actually kinda dig Mr. Runner. It’s not related to the old-school platformer of the same title that’s floating around on various websites.)

You thought Canabalt was minimalist? Wussies! They actually used grey. And shapes.

Mr. Runner, on the other hand, is hardcore minimalist gameplay, with black and white graphics, stick figure animation, and the kind of techno music you buy by the yard from someone named Uter.

And that’s kind of its appeal. The gameplay is crushingly simple, literally. A white space in the middle of the screen is sandwiched between two black constructions, top and bottom. These black elements are carved into different shapes, mostly voids and stairs, with certain landmark shapes (Big Ben, State of Liberty) set at various intervals.

You control a little stick figure running through the white space, but you’re only able to make him go a little faster or a little slower. Every few seconds, the top and bottom of the screen slam together. If you’ve timed it correctly, your little stick dude is in a void and survives. If not, he’s squished flat.

GameVision has managed to imbue their little character with a lot of personality. The animation is very smooth, and he even pauses to strike a pose when he makes it safely to one of the landmarks.

A little more actual gameplay could have been added, even just some kind of scoring system. As it is, there’s a speed mode that tracks how long you run, and a life mode that gives you three lives.

Right now, the game is free, and it’s well worth every penny. It’s a minor game, but it does show that running games can actually have some style to them.