Dead Runner is a game that first grabs you with its atmospheric, yet totally barren scenery. Then it makes another attempt at your soul with the Stephen King genre music that emits while you play. Thirdly, the gameplay will have you holding your mobile device so intensely that everyone will be wanting to know what it is that has captured your concentration. The game is nothing like Resident Evil and does not even have any gory zombies in it; it is actually a rather simple yet intense game that everyone can appreciate.
Plot (4 out of 5)
If you have ever played the Canabalt game, you will already known what Dead Runner is all about, but if not, don’t worry I won’t keep you in the dark for much longer. In the Dead Runner game you are cast as a runner who will be running through an eerie scene of shadowy trees and mist, while attempting to avoid hitting those same trees and occasionally picking up some goodies along the way. Sounds simple right? Wrong! There are two different modes in the game and while the background is pretty much the same, the different modes have their own exciting challenges. One mode is aimed at how far you can actually go, bearing in mind that there is no finish line, this is the distance mode and the other is aimed at collecting orbs to rack up points. In essence, you will be running through a creepy forest like area and your only aim is to avoid those trees and the occasional grave stones. However, it is actually a deadly feat.
Controls (5 out of 5)
Dead Runner is an accelerometer game, thus you are able to control yourself with the flick of a wrist. In essence, all you have to do is to tilt your device to the left or right to avoid hitting the obstacles in your path. You can only control your left and right movements, because you cannot go back and you cannot speed yourself up or slow yourself down. Everything is done automatically unless you happen to slow yourself down with a bush. But your main focus should be your own reflexes otherwise you will be a Dead Runner pretty soon.
Graphics (5 out of 5)
The graphics in Dead Runner are spot on, but there isn’t much to base your judgement on really. There is only one main scene and every now and again there are a few additions and alterations but that’s it. The main scene, however, is done superbly and anyone who is a fan of horror movies, or maybe just the Michael Jackson Thriller video, will really like Dead Runner’s graphics and soundtrack.
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
Well, you know the plot of the game and you were probably hoping that there were actually zombies chasing you, zombies you could probably clobber with a branch from one of those trees, but that is not the case. Maybe the developers can add something like that later, but for right now, it is still a very good game that is not as easy as it sounds. This is an accelerometer game, so you can actually avoid the trees by tilting your phone in the direction you want to go.
When you are playing the distance mode, as mentioned before the aim is to see how far you can make it without killing yourself via one of those trees or obstacles. Not all the trees are the same size and some of them seem to pop out of nowhere. As you go farther, you will pick up speed and run faster, which makes it harder to dodge stuff. There are some bushes, however, which can seem like a curse in the beginning and a blessing as you advance. The bushes slow you down for a while, so in the beginning when you are not moving that fast, the bush can be a bit frustrating, but when you are going a bit too fast for your own good, it can help in the longer distances. What makes it worse is that each time you lose, you generate a new headstone which is now another obstacle for you to avoid when you run the same path again so watch out for those. Your points are calculated on how far you managed to reach before colliding.
The points mode focuses less on speed, but more on bonuses and points. Therefore, you will still be going through the horror forest at a moderate speed, but there will be items for you to collect along the way. This may also sound simple until you realise how close these items have been placed to the trees that you are trying to avoid. In this mode your points are calculated both on the distance travelled and the items collected. These items will include coloured round glowing circles and each colour represents something else.
Game Rating (4 out of 5)
Dead Runner receives 4 stars, because it is a very good, addictive game with good graphics and fun gameplay. But until they add a few zombies or actually provide you with a reason to be running in the first place, it won’t quite get the full 5 stars. I think everyone should try this game, if only for Halloween. Get Dead Runner for only £0.59