Ever since Canabalt first hit screens, developers have been looking to capitalize on the endless runner fad. And each game brings something new to the table, but usually not enough to make a dent.
There are odd exceptions like Small Fry, but more often than not, a new endless runner is nothing to write home about. Coupled with the fact that superhero games are traditionally quite boring and badly made, I had little hope from Marvel’s Run Jump Smash ($0.99). But was I in for a surprise!
Run Jump Smash features characters from The Avengers movie: Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Black Widow, Nick Fury and Agent Maria Hill. The game actually makes you play as one of the two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Fury or Hill, who have the ability to call in one of the Avengers when they need to. Thor, Hawkeye, Captain Marvel and Spider-man feature as unlockable characters later in the game.
There are two buttons: your left thumb will need to hit Jump to avoid chasms while your right thumb will have to hit the Smash button to execute an attack and take out bad guys. Once in a while, you will fill up your Special Attack bar to cause more damage by swiping across the screen.
While the characters of Fury and Hill are regular humans-with-guns, each of the Avengers has a special ability. Iron Man can fly; Captain America can double-jump; and Hulk can smash!
A Delight For Kids
The game isn’t too tough and manages to never be boring, making it ideal for quick blasts time and time again. It’s also simple enough that a child could pick it up and start playing, utilising only two buttons.
The animation and bobblehead-style characters point to a game aimed at children, and it’s certainly simple enough for children to enjoy. While adults can battle it out in Avengers Alliance, give your comic book-obsessed kids a dose of Run, Jump, Smash.
There are in-game powers you can employ, like Stark’s Fortune to increase the coins you collect or Power of Mjolnir to destroy all obstacles on the screen and turn them into coins. These come in handy to take out the alien enemies in the game. You can purchase these with gold (an in-game currency which is 10% of all coins you collect) from the store, and you can purchase additional gold via in-app purchase.
If you’re going to give this game to kids, you should disable in-app purchases first. The game even recommends doing so – probably something to do with the expensive premium currency packs.
While the game is fun, the experience is marred by several bugs throughout while testing on iOS. For example, when your character loses, if you accidentally hit the jump button, the game crashes. It also crashes if you are swiping across the screen for your special attack and hit the jump button and a special power button in quick succession.
I find such bugs especially annoying in a game that’s meant for kids because it probably means your little one isn’t going to sit quietly in the backseat for a long time. If the gaming experience is frustrating for you, it’s much more frustrating for a child and they’ll probably stop enjoying it soon.
Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, after all I did enjoy the game. Marvel Run, Jump, Smash! won’t redefine gaming on Android or iOS, but it’s a fun and safe game to give to your kids — here’s hoping the bugs are squashed in an update.