Radial Runner ($1.99) by Team Phobic is a challenging game that puts your perception and reflexes to the test. If you enjoy twitch reflex games like Super Hexagon and Pivvot, then chances are you will get a kick out of Radial Runner as well.
Even though these are the games that end up frustrating me the most, I always come back to them. I’m not sure why — it may be due to the challenge factor, or the fact that they are just so easy to pick up and play, and are just a great way to kill some time on a commute or in the waiting room. They also end up being quite addictive, as you’re always determined to do better on the next round, even though most of the time you probably won’t. So when I saw Radial Runner in the App Store, I knew I had to give it a try to see if it could be a new favorite.
The visuals in the game are flat and super retro. It kind of reminds me of Tempest, which I used to play a ton of back when I was a kid. However, unlike Tempest, which had various shaped stages for you to move around on, Radial Runner only features a circle, of course. The circle is also broken up into various layers, kind of like an onion, and the layers are cut into various slices and pieces. Everything is color coded and quite easy to follow, so the gameplay itself is easy to learn, but difficult to master, as with all games of this genre. If you enjoy chiptunes and vintage sound effects, then Radial Runner will also delight in this area.
The gameplay is simple, really. You control a freely moving yellow piece in the circle. You can move left and right along the curvature by tapping on the left and right side of the screen. Other colored pieces will be coming in towards the center of the circle, and you need to collect the appropriate colors and avoid the dangerous ones. You accrue points slowly as you survive, but you can collect the blue pieces to increase your score in increments of five. If you collect the green pieces, you will move up one layer (less reaction time when more pieces come in), but if you can collect three in that wave, you will advance to the next wave. The red pieces are the ones you will want to avoid, because if you run into them, the game ends.
As I mentioned, the gameplay is easy to learn, but incredibly difficult to master. The more I played, the more I felt my perception get a bit “off” since moving left and right along a curve can get a bit weird over time. It may seem very easy to survive in the game, but then you’ll probably die because you got your linear perspective thrown off and moved in the wrong direction. As you advance in waves, you will get more points, but things will move faster and there will be more hazards to avoid, so tread with caution. They weren’t kidding when they said it’s a game “that will challenge your perception and reflexes.”
And of course, no twitch reflex style game is complete without some competition. If you get a great score, you can brag about it on Facebook or Twitter. There is also full Game Center integration for global leaderboards and some achievements to obtain.
It’s a deceptively uncomplicated but challenging twitch reflex game, and if those are what you like, then Radial Runner is another fine gem to add to your collection. You can get it in the App Store as a universal download for $1.99.