Call them run-from-the-screen or call them endless runners, games like Temple Run are amazing fun. And while Joel’s covered some of the most fun and frantic runner games for mobile, there are many you might not even be aware of.
Temple Run was undoubtedly the game that brought this genre into the spotlight, but there are several other games that are well worth your time and money; promising to keep you entertained for a long time without getting repetitive or boring. But instead of giving you a laundry list of titles to try out, we decided to focus on five that we rank as the best of the best.
Adultswim makes some great games that entertain and offend, and Giant Boulder Of Death is firmly in that category. In this endless runner, you play the titular giant boulder, whose boulder girlfriend was killed by humans. So from the top of a mountain, you start tumbling down with the only objective of crushing everything and everyone in your path. Be wary of spiked walls, incoming boulders and chasms, and keep going as long as you can by tilting your screen. Oh yeah, and fill up the rage meter to turn into a hulking mass of mayhem!
Runbot (Free) [No Longer Available]
As the trailer shows, Runbot is played from a side-on 3D perspective, different from most runner games. While that takes some getting used to, once you figure out the controls, Runbot is among the best games you will play, not just the best runner games. It’s got fantastic graphics with cool parkour moves that are are enhanced by pitch-perfect sound effects, but the real winner here is the gameplay. Slide and jump is well and good, but the game really picks up when you have to fly to through the air or tilt your phone to guide Runbot as he drops down a massive chute. Oh yeah, you’ll also be shooting things once in a while. If it’s the diversity in the gameplay that makes Runbot a hit, the fact that it’s free is what makes it a must-download.
To me, Canabalt is the original endless runner, from back when it debuted as a Flash game, and something I still go back to because of how addictive it is. It’s played as a side-scrolling game, where you are a man in a suit running as fast as you can, leaping from rooftop to rooftop and avoiding obstacles. The only thing you have to do is tap the screen to jump — it all comes down to how well you can time those jumps! Canabalt uses a monochromatic colour scheme that makes it endearing and unlike the Flash version, it has detailed 3D graphics on mobile screens. Best played with earphones on and the volume cranked up! Start it up and run for your life.
Download: Canabalt for Android | Canabalt for iOS
Small Fry will catch you by surprise when you play it. It seems like a simple runner — well, swimmer in this case — at first, but it actually has some great depth to it. You play as a clownfish trying to escape from a shark, so you simply swim in the water. Tap the screen and you swim upwards otherwise you’ll start dropping. That’s simple enough, but the game gets really interesting with your ability to jump out of the water, where there are water bubbles floating up. Bounce on enough of them and you can go into space! The physics engine of Small Fry is flawless so you get different types of gameplay in the same game, keeping things interesting all along.
Download: Small Fry for Android [No Longer Available] | Small Fry for iOS
In all of the other games featured here, you are controlling a character. In Boson X, it’s the world around the character that you need to control. You play as an intrepid scientist in search of the elusive n all of the other games featured here, you are controlling a character. In Boson X, it’s the world around the character that you need to control. You play as an intrepid scientist in quest of the elusive Higgs-Boson particle, but the storyline isn’t what matters. What matters is that you are running at breakneck speed in a hexagonal pipe where some parts are broken. So when you come across a broken part, you need to rotate the pipe in order for your scientist to keep running. Sure, you can jump at times, but it’s really the rotation that’s key. And if that wasn’t enough, your speed keeps increasing as you run, so you need to look for red tiles to slow you down — and beware, hopping on a green tile boosts your speed further. No other game gives you the sense of sheer speed that Boson X does with its frantic energy!
Five Of Your Own
So this is our list of five of the best endless runners you can play, keeping aside mega-hits like Temple Run, Jetpack Joyride and Subway Surfers. But that doesn’t mean this is an exhaustive list. So we’re asking you: what are your picks for the five best endless runners apart from the big titles?
Image credit: jenni from the block