Run like Hell Review

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Title: Run like Hell!
Developer: Mass Creation
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 171 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download 

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No

There are certain types of games that have been getting popular in the recent years, thanks to the Mobile Gaming scene.  Some notable examples of these games are simple games like Angry Birds and Flappy Bird.  These games caused such a craze in the game scene that they crossed over to consoles.  Not only that, but developers began making games on consoles in the style of Mobile games to appease the audiences in both the Mobile and Console worlds.

Another craze that has gained the attention of the console world are Endless Runners.  Starting with games like Temple Run, these are games where you are constantly running to avoid objects and reach an objective at the end of a stage.  Some notable games in this genre on Mobile are games like Sonic Dash, Temple Run, among others.  They have become so popular that it’s not common for very long to go by without a game in the genre to release on Mobile.

The PlayStation Vita has begun to get its fair share of runners as well.  The upcoming Run, Sackboy, Run! LittleBigPlanet game is an Endless Runner.  The Vita has also gotten another runner game onto it in the past week.  From the developer Mass Creation comes an endless runner that is exclusive to the PlayStation Vita, offering the gameplay on the go with a button format instead of touch controls.  Here is our official review of the endless runner, Run like Hell!

Story

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Most runners don’t have much of a story to them.  Some of them do have a story that is set up, though.  Unlike some runners, Run like Hell does have a plotline to it, although it is brief.  The plot is centered around a man named Joe who ends up on an island in the middle of nowhere.  As he explores the island, he comes to realize that it’s not as safe as he would like to have thought.  He finds that the island is crawling with cannibal savages.

As he runs to the edge of the island, he realizes that he has wound up on the complete opposite side of the island from where his boat is docked.  Looking back towards the jungles and temples of the island, he sprints across the island to reach his boat before the pursuing cannibals capture him and make him their nightly meal.

The story isn’t very extensive.  There are some scenes at the end of each section of the game, though, to give you a little comedy and information on where he is.  There isn’t a lot of depth, but it is enough to keep you interested in the plot and dialogue.

Gameplay

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Run like Hell is a 2D Endless Runner.  The basic premise of the gameplay is that you will be constantly running across a 2D environment.  It’s also somewhat of a platformer, so you will be jumping and avoiding traps and platforms as you go from one side of the stage to the other.  Imagine that it’s like a 2D Super Mario game, but constantly running the entire time while being chased by various enemies.

The game is set in stages, and has three different game modes: The Great Escape, Arcade Mode, and Online Mode.  The Great Escape is the Story Mode for the game.  In this mode, you will tackle the 33 stages that show the main character, Joe, running across the island to escape from the island.  This mode will take you through each stage automatically, but you can go back and repeat stages any time you want, even after you’ve completed the game and have 100% Story Completion.

Arcade Mode lets you play through what is called Endless Mode.  Essentially, it is an endurance race to see how long you can go without failing.  Online Mode is similar to Endless Mode, but it lets you race against other players online instead of just doing endless stages until you fail.  There is also a Challenge Mode in the online section, letting you participate in seasonal challenges with other players to earn coins.

Coins are a big part of the game’s extra modes.  When you play through the game, there are objectives you can complete to receive Gold Coins, which function as the game’s currency.  You can also collect these as you play through Online Races.  These coins are used to make purchases in the game, from unlocking new characters for Online and Arcade or adding power-ups to those races.  You can also purchase these coins with micro-transactions and real money, but doing enough races online can easily get you all the coins you’ll need to unlock the extra content for the most part.  Some characters will require a lot of grinding, though.

Actual stages and races have you running in side-scrolling maps.  Throughout each stage, there are various traps and obstacles for you to go through.  These range from falling pots, swarms of bees, totem poles, rocks, and more.  Your goal is to be able to get through these obstacles as well as you can by jumping or sliding past them.  If you don’t get a jump perfect, you will be stopped and the savages will gain some ground on you.  You can easily gain this back, but you don’t want to mess up too much.  As soon as one savage touches you, it’s Game Over.  There are also stages that just have you using the trigger buttons to get past the stage.

The key things to note here are Power-Ups and Timing.  You can find Power-Ups as you play through each stage.  The first kind of Power-Up is Adrenaline.  This gives you Adrenaline Energy that you can use at any time to speed up, in case you’re about to get caught.  The other kind is a weather effect like lightning or fog that slows down the savages.  They will catch back up, eventually, if you keep messing up jumps, but it could save you from a Game Over, so use Adrenaline wisely.

There are 33 stages to the game and 8 different types of areas.  Since each stage can take between 1 and 2 minutes, expect the fastest run through the game to take roughly 2 hours or so, depending on how many times you have to go back and retry stages.  Once you get past the initial couple areas, the stages will mostly be very similar to one another.  The game can get pretty repetitive this way, so it’s best that you don’t play the entire game in one sitting.

Controls

Controls are light in this game.  Despite being a runner, there are no touch controls for the game.  From start to finish, you will be using the buttons on the PlayStation Vita to play the game.  This is pretty handy, given how fast-paced the gameplay is.  You would not want your fingers covering up the screen when you’re trying to jump and slide on-the-fly.

The main controls you will be using are the Face Buttons.  Jumping is done with the X button and/or the Triangle Button.  Sliding is also done with two buttons, either Square or Circle.  These are the main controls you will be using in the game.  However, you can also use the Right D-Pad button to use Adrenaline.  The L and R triggers are also used in the dashing stages where you run but cannot jump or slide.

All in all, the controls are very easy to get used to.  There aren’t very many, and the ones that are there are easy to remember.

Presentation

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Runners have never been known to having high-quality visuals, and Run like Hell is no exception to that rule.  The in-game graphics are very basic, 2D artwork.  While it is basic, everything is colorful and smooth, offering a cartoony look that matches the goofy dialogue shown in each story scene.  There are no jagged edges to be found and the visuals seem to be optimized well for the PS Vita’s screen.

The game plays well, too.  Every time I played a stage or race, there was never any lag, crashing, or any sort of technical imperfections.  Even racing online performed flawlessly.  While the 5-10 second load times seem a bit lengthy for this type of game, it plays well, for the most part.

The biggest criticism for the presentation falls on the audio.  The music given fits the primitive island theme the game has, but the sound effects of the savages has much to be desired.  There is a sound clip for how the savages sound and yell that lasts about 5 seconds, and it is constantly repeating as you play the game, whether they are close to you or not.  If you have the volume up very high, this can get very annoying and you can tell it’s a sound file constantly on repeat.

Overall

Run like Hell is a fun runner for the PlayStation Vita.  On the negative side, the game is a short experience, doesn’t do much to differentiate from the rest of the genre, has bad-quality sound effects and decently long load times, and is filled with micro-transactions to entice players not to work for their unlockable content.  However, the game is still a decent runner that plays well and has online multiplayer.  It is a worthy $5 purchase if you’re a fan of the genre.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates Run like Hell a 7/10

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