Starting life as a mobile game around the time that Temple Run’s popularity was first flaring up, Run Like Hell takes a similar theme and flips it onto a 2D plain, dropping you into the shoes of cardio legend and all-round coward Joe, who spends the entire game sprinting like a madman away from his pursers.
The set up, and indeed the execution, is simple. The protagonist never stops running, and all you have to do is hit the relevant buttons to make him jump over or slide under obstacles. As he legs it away from natives and, later, a yeti, the environment throws up a number of hazards to circumnavigate, and it’s not long before Run Like Hell really begins to test your reflexes. If you’re caught, it’s back to the start of the level. Sometimes it feels like you just can’t time those jumps right, and it can be frustrating later on when there’s so much to worry about, but overall it’s a hypnotic, even pleasant, experience.
You might be hurdling fallen trees or swampy pits, or sliding under killer bee hives and huge, swinging stone boulders; you might have to skip from crumbling pillar to crumbling pillar, avoiding deadly traps, pit falls and trip points as you go. You’ve also got a boost meter, activated by hitting right on the D-Pad, and power-ups scattered about the place aid you by granting you coin magnets or by zapping your pursuers. After only a handful of levels, Run Like Hell starts coughing up such a mix of nasties that mastering a course becomes a genuine challenge. It’s one that remains fun throughout, too – as long as you’re enjoying it in short bursts.
Commendably doing away with most of the in-app purchases of its mobile predecessor (though you can choose to buy coins if you really want to), Run Like Hell awards you money for completing arcade levels and bonus objectives, which allows you to buy new characters. While entirely aesthetic, these new characters are almost all nods to other games, with one named Laura and modelled on a certain Ms. Croft, and another called Hope who looks exactly like Mirror’s Edge’s Faith. Unlocking them all will take a serious amount of play, however.
Switching to Arcade Mode takes allows you to play endlessly to see how long you can last, or a version of each level with collectible coins. Online mode takes you to the Challenge menu, which has various multiplayer games to indulge in that change periodically. So far my favourite has been the straight race, which sees you sprinting against the ghosts of three other players. It adds another dimension to the game when you feel you’re not trying to stay alive anymore, you’re trying to snatch that gold medal.
Run Like Hell is an enjoyable little romp, with enough content to keep you coming back. The controls are responsive and it takes no time to get the hang of what you’re doing – though mastering each course will take considerably longer. It’s a shame that there aren’t more solo modes, and that the different environments don’t affect anything other than how it all looks, but what’s here will provide some short-term amusement on a commute or in a waiting room.
GOOD. A game that scores 7/10 is worthy of note, but unworthy of fanfare. It does many things well, but only a few of them incredibly well and, despite a handful of good qualities, fresh ideas and solid mechanics, it fails to overwhelm.
Review code provided by publisher.