Sketchman ($0.99) by Miniclip.com is an endless runner that stars a stick figure equipped with a gun. The main character and all of the backgrounds are hand drawn, which explains the name of the app.
The graphical style, while simplistic, is well polished and looks great. It’s an immediately appealing concept, and the gameplay and controls combine to make this a fun endless runner.
As in most endless runners, the goal in Sketchman is to get as far as you can while avoiding obstacles like spikes and traps.
The left button controls jumping. One tap executes a single jump, while two taps allows the title character to double jump. Most endless runners end at a double jump, but Sketchman also implements a triple jump and a glide which can be done by tapping three times and then holding your finger on the screen.
This is not a simple move to make, so it will take some time to get used to the gliding mechanic. In Sketchman, you can shoot while you run and jump. Shooting is controlled with the button on the right side of the screen. You can tap to fire once, or hold the button to fire continuously.
Firing destroys objects and other stickmen, but you will still need to do quite a bit of jumping over all kinds of obstacles. There’s no ammo limit, so you will want to fire your gun as often as possible while running, but it doesn’t fire while jumping, so keep that in mind.
Because you can’t fire and jump at the same time, it can be difficult to get past some obstacles. Jumping interrupts your gun, and if you happen to jump and then run into an flying stick figure, it can be game over, which is frustrating.
As you run, you will want to grab as many coins as you can. Coins are used to purchase new weapons, power ups, and other bonuses. Unfortunately, most of these items are rather expensive and will require quite a few play throughs to save up enough cash to unlock them.
Alternatively, you can purchase coins in the app, and it seems that the game is oriented at scoring in-app purchases with its high priced items.
The game has missions to unlock, such as running a certain distance or gathering a specified number of coins, plus Game Center leaderboards. Levels and obstacles are randomly generated, so you can play this game again and again.
Sketchman isn’t the best endless runner that I’ve played, but it is decent. It’s an iPhone only game – if you want to play on your iPad, you’ll need to by the HD version, which is really the major negative to this game.
If you’re looking for a quick-play casual game this week, Sketchman is a good choice, and its affordable at just $0.99.