by Joe White
August 15, 2010
Remember our exclusive preview of Gravity Runner, the Canabalt-style game with a difference? Well, great news guys: the app has finally been approved by Apple, and is available now in the App Store for the minuscule price of $0.99! And, as you'd expect, we've got a review ready for you. So read on to find out exactly why you should be hitting the App Store hard and downloading Gravity Runner right now.
The GameAs you've probably already guessed by now, Gravity Runner involves a fair bit of running. In fact, the name of the game is to run through a linear level while tapping the screen to jump over various objects (spikes, pits, and boxes). If you fall or touch a spike, your character (Colin) dies, and you have to re-start the level from the last checkpoint. However, even though Colin's jumps are good, they're not supermassive - and there are times in Gravity Runner when our character is presented with an object too high to vault over. At this moment, a conveniently placed stone ceiling often comes into view - meaning it's time to reverse gravity, and run upside down! Switching gravity in Gravity Runner is easy and smooth. Players touch the screen to jump, then touch it again (while in mid-air) to switch gravity - sending Colin upwards upside down towards the top of the screen, where he continues to run. Essentially, players have to switch gravity throughout each level to reach the end in one piece. As mentioned, various checkpoints mean Colin doesn't always have to go right back to the start if something bad happens, which is handy. Gravity Runner uses Mario-like retro graphics and SFX. Players have twenty-eight levels to work through (that I can see), and can pass each level with a bronze, silver, or gold trophy - depending on how quickly they manage to reach the finish line. Colin is also charged with the added mission of collecting coins as he moves through each level.
What I LoveI love Gravity Runner's gameplay: it's addictive, painfully addictive. Once you've played through a level or two (and have reached the gravity-switching tutorial), you won't be able to put it down. Gravity Runner is problem solving at its best; the problems are easy to solve, and quick to pass - until another comes along. The fact that Colin is constantly running means you have an informal countdown ticking away second by second, and players have to think fast if they're going to bypass whatever obstacle has just appeared in their path. Players also have to account for space when switching gravity, as a jump from the ceiling can often land Colin in another spike-pit. Also, Colin can only switch gravity once in a single jump. He has to touchdown, then jump off again before he can reverse gravity a second time - adding an extra dimension to the game. I also like how players can interact with Gravity Runner in various ways. It's not imperative to collect coins as you run through each level, but simply an option. It'll improve your overall score, though you can easily pass through a level without collecting every coin in it. Additionally, the trophy aspect increases Gravity Runner's lifespan as a game; players can keep playing the app until they've obtained a gold medal for each and every level.
What Could Be ImprovedGravity Runner is a great game, but it's a relatively simple game. As opposed to the question, "what could be improved?" I'd rather answer: "what would you like to see in version two?" And, in Gravity Runner's first major update, I'd like to see a few things: Support for multitasking would be great, as would Retina display optimized graphics. I'm not looking for a change in the current retro-themed graphics, but rather minor tweaks that would make buttons and logos appear crisp and clean on iPhone 4 handsets. Additionally, more levels would also be nice - something I'm sure Gravity Runner's developer, We Are Colin, is planning on implementing. This game really should follow in Doodle Jump's footsteps and receive regular updates that extend the game's lifespan. An iPad version would also be very much appreciated, as the game would work well on the device's glorious HD screen.
OverallOverall, Gravity Runner is a brilliant game - and our final score of four and a half stars certainly reflects this. For $0.99, iPhone owners are certainly getting their money's worth with this fantastic application. Once you launch Gravity Runner and embark upon your first run, it'll be nearly impossible for you to leave the game alone for more than a few hours. So be sure to take a look at Gravity Runner now! It's available in the App Store for $0.99 - and is definitely an AppAdvice must buy!
We Are Colin
Semi Secret Software, LLC