Shine Runner is a fast-paced racing game that tosses in an element of commodity trading. The game sends you into the swamp where you race your airboat around the channels, visiting a collection of stops in the bayou. Each stop has a series of goods that you can buy and sell with one goal in mind: make as much profit as possible.
While it sounds like a simple concept, you do have bonuses for racing between stops as quickly as possible. Your competition, as well as the local authorities, will also be around the swamp and will try to slow you down at all costs.
Graphics and animations are full of detail and the swamp courses can be challenging to navigate. Available for both Windows PC and Phone, Shine Runner is an enjoyable game to spend a little time with.
The main menu for Shine Runner offers you the option to play the game, access the Help & Options section and view your in-game achievements. The Help & Options menu provides access to the game's settings, the game's social network pages, a brief tutorial and the developer credit's page. Settings for Shine Runner offer you the option to choose between steering controls (on-screen vs. tilt sensor), audio levels and graphic levels. If the game begins to be a little laggy, you can dial the visual quality down a little to improve the framerates.
A game of Shine Runner spans ten days where you race your airboat around the swamp, visiting a variety of shops to buy and sell goods. You begin each game challenged with making it to your first store within a set time. The faster you get to your first stop, the more cash you will have for your first purchase. In addition to any money earned for reaching your destination in time, you will also find several moneybags floating around the swamp that you can collect for bonus cash.
Gameplay for Shine Runner is identical from either a Windows PC or Phone, with the only real difference being that PC gamers get additional control options in using the keyboard or a gaming controller. Those game controls — be they tilting, on-screen, or physical — were fully responsive; the touch controls have you tapping the left side of the screen to turn left and tapping the right side to turn right. The tilt controls are fun, but I kept losing my orientation or leaning myself out of my seat. Our best advice is to try each control option and see what fits your gaming style the best.
Your airboat is indestructible and while crashing through a house will not damage your boat, it will slow you down a bit. The same can be said of rival airboats and the local police. They will run interference with your airboat to slow you down. Even though it will slow you down, smashing into these obstacles can be fun.
Each stop in the swamp will have a store where you can buy or sell goods. The items include crawdads, gator tails, snake oil, moonshine and more. Pricing will indicate the value trends for each item (higher, lower or no change). In the ten days that span the game, you will visit the stores, buy goods at a low price and hopefully find a store that where you can sell the goods for a hefty profit.
Your airboat does have a cargo limit and some of the swamp characters will give you hints as to what may have the best profit margins.
If you do not complete the full ten-day span of a game in one sitting, your progress is saved. At the end of the ten-day period, any inventory on your airboat will be sold based on the market value of your current location. Your score is based solely on how much money you end the ten-day period with.
Shine Runner is a fun, entertaining, nicely animated game that is available for both Windows PC and Phones. Gameplay reminds me of a cross between Hydro Thunder Go and Rum Run. You get the fast-paced action of racing between swamp stops and the challenge of gauging the market and selling your cargo for profit. The courses are fun to race across with plenty of wooden ramps and levies to jump.
The graphics and animations are detailed with everything from ripples appearing on the camera when splashed to gators wiggling around as they try to swim to safety from being hit by your boat. The hillbilly music and sound effects does not hurt the appeal of the game either.
I would have like to have seen Shine Runner offer customization options for your airboat. Nothing too extensive would be needed to give the game a little more zip. Maybe a few paint job options or boat styles to choose from.
While the game is available for Windows PC, I think it plays out best on mobile devices like a Windows Phone or tablet. While the keyboard controls work, the game screams for tilt or touch controls for optimum enjoyment. The biggest downside to Shine Runner is that the game lacks a free trial. The full game is currently running $1.49 and while I think it is worth the price of admission, it would be nice to have the option try things out first.