5th Cell is the developer behind the very popular Scribblenauts (which was released on iOS to great acclaim last year, and just had a new level pack update), and it recently brought a new title to the App Store called Run Roo Run. 2D platforming is a genre that’s almost as old as videogames themselves (Mario, who you may know, is the grandfather of jumping around on 2D platforms), and as far as I’m concerned, Run Roo Run is a master class in 2D platforming design.
It also has the added benefit of being a running title of sorts, and a puzzle game as well. The idea is that you, as Roo, a very cute Australian kangaroo, have lost a little blue buddy, and it’s your job to jump across the Aussie landscape, over and around various obstacles, to save your friend. But your run is broken up into a series of stages that consist of one screen each, and so the goal is to keep the constantly running Roo jumping at just the right times to make it to the end of the screen and onto the next one.
The action starts simple, but soon double jumps are added, and then the ability to slow Roo down or speed him up, and then you can swing on things, and just like Cut the Rope, a series of relatively simple elements can be combined into some very ingenious puzzles. Also like Cut the Rope, all of the action is crystal clear to see and understand, and the colorful graphics (especially on the iPad’s HD version) and very chill Aussie soundtrack make this one a pleasure to play through. It’s well polished, excellently designed, and for a 2D platforming fan like myself, every new stage is like another dish at an all-you-can-eat jumping buffet. And every level is timed and rewarded with gold, silver, or bronze medals, so there’s lots of drive, even once you’ve conquered a simple one, to go back and do it perfectly the first time around.
Run Roo Run is a great title, and shows that 5th Cell has really fallen in love with Apple’s platform (of course, the big sales from Scribblenauts probably didn’t hurt that emotion, either). It’s available for 99 cents on iPhone, or for $1.99 on the iPad, with over 420 levels included, more showing up every week, and the option to buy some extra power-ups or convenience items via in-app purchase. Don’t pass this one up, whatever you do.