Too busy to devote 12+ hours a day to your gaming habit? Here's a review that's sensitive to your needs: Short and focused on just the things that a busy gamer like you really needs to know.
Reviewed On: iPhone 4 and iPad 3.
In a Nutshell: A colorful, amusing sequel to the popular Mr. Runner. The basic mechanics are the same: Mr. Runner jogs across a set course collecting coins, collectibles, and power-ups while the threat of danger hovers above. The player presses the right side of the screen to speed him up, or the left side to slow him down.
Various dangers await Mr. Runner in each set of levels. Players must time their runs just right to reach safe zones before getting crushed, drowned, or caught in some other nefarious trap.
The game is rife with sly references to pop culture and other games. Familiar characters appear in the wild throughout the levels. Mr. Runner himself briefly transforms into some familiar people/characters when he successfully ducks death. Movie fans will also recognize many of his celebratory catch-phrases.
Successful runs unlock special masks that players can use to customize their experience. Older gamers will get more of the references, including the "Unknown Comic" from The Gong Show. Younger gamers will recognize many of the Nintendo-esque characters and loving nods favorite games, including a plant-hating zombie and one really mad bird.
Learning Curve: Easy to learn, hard to master. There is no stopping in this game; just speeding up or slowing down. The challenge is timing. Keys, treasure chests, money-attracting magnets and other goodies bounce around the screen like Olympic gymnasts. Move too fast and you may fly right by an airborne reward. Move too slow and you might get catch a coveted revival potion, only to get crushed a few moments later. Fans of rhythm games may find it easier to learn the beats and advance.
The gameplay has the potential to be very frustrating, particularly for left handed people. (Yes, here we go again.) In this case, I found it very difficult to play on the iPhone. My right hand was controlling the speed, and my thumb simply couldn't keep up with it. (Perhaps someday devs will offer a "lefty mode" that switches the power switch to the "sinister" side.) I also kept accidentally hitting things on screen with my hand, interrupting my flow and creating a less than stellar experience.
My iPad experience was much, much better. After experimenting with a few different approaches, I settled on using my left hand exclusively (Index and Ring finger), and began flying through levels with little problem. The iPad also offered the advantage of a bigger screen – and in this case, the design deserves to be seen on a large display. Too bad it's only pixel-doubled, and not a universal app optimized for iPad.
The Save Game: Progress is saved at the end of a level (typically about 1-2 minutes of play time), whether you succeed or not.
Family Factor: Very family friendly, although very small children might be freaked out by some of the bosses who chase Mr. Runner. Older kids will enjoy it just as much as you will.
Buy or Skip? Buy – especially if you have an iPad (even though it's not optimized for it). It's only $1, and a wonderful addition to your mobile and/or tablet gaming library. While you're at it, pick up the original Mr. Runner, the black-and-white predecessor. The "Yo Mama" jokes are almost worth getting crushed. (You can also turn them off, if they're not your thing.)
On a Personal Note: I wasn't initially sold on the game, but it has quickly become a favorite, largely on the iPad. I love the Katamari Damacy-like environment, and the little unexpected moments that have made me laugh time and again.
What's great is that Mr. Runner 2 is a game you can pick up and put down in short increments, whether you're waiting in the grocery line or just want to kill a little time during the television commercials.
I'd like to give the developers a shout-out for their handling of the in-game currency system. The game regularly offers the opportunity to make in-game purchases such as magnets, keys, and revival potions to help the player get through particularly tough levels. Players willing to part with cash may also buy special power up masks that will grant a permanent in-game advantage. But you don't really need any of these unless you're a busy and impatient gamer. There are ample opportunities to score extra coins if you don't mind, say, following the company on Twitter or Facebook. Later, players have the option to watch brief marketing videos to score cash. My all-time favorite was the simplest: Buy a chance to spin the wheel. (Unfortunately, I lost money on this one, which led me to buy more spins... Just like in Vegas.)
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