The App Store's rotten with platformers. Everywhere you turn, there's some developer revisiting his or her childhood with their own take on the hoppy/jumpy left-to-right adventure genre. Many of these stink or are otherwise unremarkable. But 5th Cell's Run Roo Run is different.
You might expect to find some complicated evolution of jumping action from the developers of Scribblenauts. However, 5th Cell's moves from the exponential scalability of that game—where words conjure up people and things that interact in almost unpredictable ways—to a stripped-down, one-button control scheme.
The platformer puts players into the springy soles of Roo, a mama marsupial from Down Under on the trail of her kidnapped joey. To rescue the baby kanga, you've got to get through 420 levels of hazards on the way from Perth to Sydney.
Once you tap to get her going, Roo moves automatically from left to right. Subsequent taps make her jump. That's it. Simple as it is, Run Roo Run isn't boring at all. RRR trots out all the familiar power-ups from the platforming genre but doles them in piecemeal fashion in each early chapter. So, double jumps appear as power-ups in Chapter 2, followed by tires on which you can bounce and then fans that generate updrafts you can float on.
It might feel rudimentary if you've spent a lot of time playing platformers on console. But, challenge starts building as it starts mixing up the various elements. You'll find that each level demands its own rhythm and that the twitch reflexes that serve you in a Super Mario game won't necessarily translate here. Still, if you get deep into the regular levels and think the game's a breeze, playing Run Roo Run's Extreme levels will quickly disabuse you of that notion. It's the same one-button jump gameplay but with hazards so tightly packed that you'll need split-second response time to clear the levels.
RRR also has a tiered scoring system that rates your performance and purchasable perks to let you skip levels. But what'll keep you playing is the urge to perfect your playthroughs and the desire to see how the familiar pieces of platforming get recombined to create new puzzles. Run Roo Run finds a surprisingly fresh and newbie-friendly on platformer gameplay but should also manage to lure in veterans with its clever minimalism.
Run Roo Run [iTunes]