Gear Jack Black Hole (Free) by Crescent Moon Games is a beautiful endless runner that will keep you coming back thanks to the unique art and random levels. If you enjoyed titles like Jetpack Joyride and Robot Unicorn Attack 2, then you will fall in love with Gear Jack Black Hole (GJBH).
It has been quite a while since we’ve had an endless runner hit the App Store as of late, hasn’t it? I know I love infinite runners, but it has definitely been some time since I’ve checked one out. Fortunately, leave it to Crescent Moon Games, the guys behind awesome games like Shadow Blade, Demonrock: War of Ages, and Coldfire Keep, to spark some interest once again in the endless runner genre, because this game is just a delight to play.
The art style in GJBH is stunningly beautiful. You will find various environments, such as Japan, the desert, the jungle, or even an ice age. However, what makes the visuals really stand out is the fact that each area is composed of colorful gradients that seem to be flattened together to make silhouettes in the background, while the foreground is easily recognizable with pitch black shadows. It’s truly distinctive, and gives the whole game a rather ambient feel to it. Our hero, Gear Jack, is a robot who is trapped inside of a black hole, as well as his ship, the W. Hale. The animation in the game are smooth and fluid, without any lag on my iPhone 5s. The music is quirky and fun, perfectly complementing the fast-paced action of the gameplay itself.
Like all endless runners, there is only one game mode, and that is basically to survive. The game’s title screen is pretty simplistic, and all you have to do is “tap to start” to really just get thrown into the action. The game does not have a tutorial of any kind, so you will need to quickly adjust from the start.
Controls in the game are simple, though it may take some time to get used to, since you are basically thrown into Gear Jack’s world. In the bottom left corner, a button allows you to crouch and roll through small crevices, and a button in the right corner makes you jump. You can hold this button to to do a longer jump, or tap twice for a double jump. Additionally, there is a button that has Gear Jack slow down to a walk, rather than a run. This is useful for those parts in a level where it tells you to “Slow Down,” because of some fun and unexpected surprises.
The controls are really simple, as you can see. However, it did take me a few moments to get used to, but that’s because of the jarring start, as I wasn’t expecting to begin playing so soon (used to loading screens and story introductions). But once you get used to it, they are very intuitive and responsive.
All runs will be randomly generated, but you’ll start out in the same jungle area. However, you will find black holes sitting around in random spots on each stage, and if you run into these, you’ll be transported to a different location. But no matter which area you’re in, you will find dangerous obstacles, such as spinning saw blades, spikes, explosives, walls, and more, including alien monsters, which you will need to avoid at all costs. If you run into these, you will die, though the game does give you the chance to continue if you have enough stars (the price increases each time you die).
As you run, you will also find gears scattered around the stage. You’ll want to make sure to collect these, as they can be spent in the shop for various “talents” for Gear Jack, which will include more lives, shields, gear magnets, and more. You can also spend the gears on different costumes and poses, which are purely cosmetic. If you are low on gears or stars, you can buy more through in-app purchases.
For the competitive types, there is full Game Center integration for leaderboards and achievements. The leaderboards are for your best score, total gears, and total teleports. There are also 18 achievements to keep you playing, including some rather difficult ones to obtain, like “My Head Is Spinning!” that needs you to teleport 10 times in a single run.
I’ve really been enjoying Gear Jack Black Hole so far, and it’s definitely a game that I can pick up anywhere to kill some downtime with. It’s visually appealing with a charming soundtrack, and the controls are simple enough for anyone to understand from the get-go. It’s been a while since I’ve played an endless runner, but Gear Jack Black Hole is a delightful welcome back.
If you enjoy infinite runners, or just like Crescent Moon Games releases, I highly recommend you check this game out. Gear Jack Black Hole is available on the App Store as a universal download for free.