Windows Phone Central Gaming Roundup: Endless Runners
Endless runner games can be a rather addictive choice of Windows Phone games and can help you pass short bits of time or longer gaming sessions. There is no shortage of this genre of games in the Windows Phone Store and this week we turn our sights on the Windows Phone Store Collection that showcases a little over two dozen of the endless runner games.
The Fun Runner's collection has several well known gaming titles such as Despicable Me: Minions Rush, Subway Surfers and the Temple Run titles. For this week's roundup, we are going to highlight four titles in the Collection that you may not have heard about.
We have two games that are played from the "over the shoulder" perspective, one that is laid out in platformer style and one that is played from a first person point of view. While each game approaches things a little differently, they all have the same underlying goal, run as far as you can.
Before we get into things, all the games listed in this week's roundup is available for low-memory devices.
Pororo Penguin Run
Pororo Penguin Run is the official game of Pororo the Little Penguin. For those who may not know (like me), Pororo is an award winning cartoon series that features the little penguin.
The game looks like it would be better suited for your Windows Phone Kid's Corner. However, with power-ups, upgrades and somewhat challenging game play, the game may appeal to the older crowd too.
Pororo Penguin Run features nine characters from the cartoon series, each unlockable by spending coins earned during game play. You begin the game running Pororo through the obstacle course using your Windows Phone tilt sensors to control his side-to-side movements and tapping the screen will make your character jump.
Power-ups or upgrades can be purchased with your gaming coins before jumping into the game, which include magnets to attract coins, a VW Bug that gives you invincibility, and an airplane to fly you over the various dangers.
Dangers include your typical fallen tree lying across the path, bouncing mushrooms that will obscure your view when hit, Lego blocks and more. Coins and stars line the path that can be collected to add to your score and bank account. In addition to seeing how far you can you, Pororo Penguin Run also has a collection of daily and weekly challenges to conquer. These range from collecting a set number of gems to collecting letters that spell a character's name.
It's really hard to find any fault with such a modest game. The graphics and animations are well drawn up and are true to the children's cartoon. Game play is challenging and there are plenty of challenges to undertake to keep the game fresh. I guess if I had to find something to criticize it would be the in-app purchase opportunities Pororo has for gems and coins. With the key attraction for this game resting with children, you are going to have to keep an eye on things to make sure you child doesn't take advantage of these in-app purchase opportunities.
While some may not see the appeal of Pororo Penguin Run, I can see the appeal with fans of the cartoon series or those looking for a change of pace with their endless runner games. With almost 1,800 reviews, Pororo Penguin Run brings home a 4.5 Star rating in the Windows Phone Store, which is about spot on.
RunnerJack is an endless runner game that puts in the middle of a river full of logs. The game challenges your log running skills to see how far down river you can run.
Controls are your traditional screen swipes to move your lumberjack left, right, up and down. Throughout the run you will find coins scattered about the logs that can be collected and at the end of your run you will receive a cash prize based on your score. You can use this gaming money to unlock costumes for your lumberjack.
The further you run, the quicker the game pace becomes and it can be somewhat challenging keeping your lumberjack dry. The game will test your reflexes and skills at moving your lumberjack side-to-side while in mid-jump.
RunnerJack comes across as a fun game to pass the time with but I'm not sure it is strong enough to be a "go to" game. I would have liked to have seen a few power-ups available and maybe a few more dangers come into play besides jumping from log to log.
Nonetheless, RunnerJack is an enjoyable game and likely a good gaming title to have around when you are in the mood for something different. RunnerJack garners a 3.5 Star rating in the Windows Phone Store, which is just about right. Add a little more meat on the bone and I could see RunnerJack gaining a half a star or more.
Forest Run 3D
Forest Run 3D offers an interesting perspective on the endless runner genre of games. Instead of playing the game from an over-the-shoulder point of view or from a 2D platform view, Forest Run has you running from a first person perspective.
You control your side-to-side movement by tilting your Windows Phone left or right. Jumping and ducking are down by either swiping the screen up or down. Runs are done in a forest environment with plenty of trees to run around, fallen trees to jump over and low hanging limbs to duck under.
As you run, coins will appear that can be collected and spent on upgrades in the gaming store that include sprint shoes, magnets, and other items that will help you survive your run.
To help keep the game interesting, you have a series of objectives to meet as you make your runs. These objectives include goals such as running a set distance without jumping, collect a set number of coins with a magnet, run a set distance, etc.
Should you hit an object, the game is over and if you're curious what went wrong a icon is included in the scoring screen to show that you ran into a tree, tripped on a log or hit a branch.
The game includes several forest settings ranging from a night run to a snow covered run to a virtual forest that is a little on the psychedelic side. The night run is fun to play with the room lights turned off and reminds me of a horror movie where you are trying to outrun an axe murderer. It almost resembles some of the footage from The Blair Witch Project.
Forest Run 3D does grow on you a little but I couldn't help but think it needed a little more variety with its scenery. Nonetheless, if you are looking for something different with endless runner games you will want to give Forest Run 3D a try. The game brings home a 4.5 Star rating in the Windows Phone Store that includes many positive comments.
Jungle Escapade - bullet, enemy hunt and treasure
Jungle Escapade - bullet, enemy hunt and treasure (we'll just go with Jungle Escapade) takes on the endless runner game from a 2D view, much like you would find with platformer games. Where platform games usually are played out one level at a time, Jungle Escapade is played until your character meets their fate.
The backstory for the game has you playing the role of a treasure hunter whose plane crash lands in the African jungle. As the plane crashes, all of your treasure is scattered throughout the jungle. Therefore, not only do you have to find a way to escape the clutches of the African jungle but you have to collect all your treasure as well.
In your way is a collection of enemies and dangers ranging from tribal warriors, bottomless pits, booby-traps, and more. You control your characters jumps, slides and weapons fire by a series of screen gestures.
The game does have a store where you can spend the gems you collect to unlock additional characters but lacks any power-ups that can be purchased. However, you will find an assortment of power-ups randomly placed along the jungle path. The power-ups include magnets, score multipliers, laser guns and more.
As with many endless runner games, Jungle Escapade includes a series of performance objectives to pursue while you are trying to survive the jungle dangers. These include your standard run a set distance, collect a number of gems, complete so many jumps, etc.
Graphics are nice with a slight retro touch and game play can be on the challenging side. The feel of the game reminds me a slightly of the old Pitfall game from Atari, you just don't have the alligator pits to hop across.
My early concerns about Jungle Escapade was that it lacked enough content to keep you interested in the game. However, after playing several games of Jungle Escapade the game seemed to grow on me. It's not as flashy as some of the endless runners but I found the game to be rather enjoyable. I would like the characters to have more traditional treasure hunter attire though. Maybe the developer could offer outfits in the gaming store to better customize your character? Or how about adding Zombies to the mix?
Jungle Escapade pulls down a 4 Star rating in the Windows Phone Store after 125 reviews, which isn't too far from the mark.
What is the better of the four?
Which is the best of the bunch? I'm leaning towards Pororo Penguin Run but that isn't to say the other three games suck wind.
Forest Run 3D delivers a fresh perspective with endless runner games and does have a slight addictive draw to the game. The scenery could use a little sprucing up but as is, the game was very enjoyable to play.
I like the retro feel of Jungle Escapade and the platform approach to an endless runner game. I also like the more relaxed gaming environment of RunnerJack as you guide your character from log to log. While both of these titles are enjoyable, I couldn't help but feel they needed more. With RunnerJack, I think you need more obstacles to avoid as you jump around the logs. The same can be said of Jungle Escapade.
While there is room for improvement, all four titles are decent Windows Phone gaming titles. They may not be everyone's cup of tea but are worth a try.
All of which brings up to the inevitable question, what is your favorite endless runner game? Lately I find myself in a love/hate relationship with Spiderman Unlimited. But you also have quality gaming options such as Subway Surfers, Dark Lands, Gravity Guy, Rail Rush and more.
But what say you? Let us know in the comments below what your favorite endless runner game is. Plus, if you give any of the games in the Fun Runner Collection a try, let us know what you think.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.