The future is a place to hang ten, and hover like crazy.
Back to the Future was right on the money with the hovering skateboard, as a means of transportation in the future. The Axon Runners are a collaboration of rebels travelling the innards of Persepolis. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to hover upside down whenever possible are all worth fighting for. The Axon Runners take the fight to the streets with wicked stunts, fierce jumps and a lot of broken bones.
My first impression of Axon Runners wasn’t good at all due to the ultra sensitive controls. The slightest swipe on the screen corresponds to immediate movements of the boarder. Quicker swipes correspond to massive jumps, and the game does a good job separating the two actions. The twitchy movements took me quite some time, and a lot of frustration to get to terms with. Even after hours spent with the game I tend to crash into walls. Double tapping on the screen fires the board lasers to destroy obstacles.
Collecting orbs, pulling off tricks and destroying obstacles give points. It is also important to go as quickly, as possible. To pick up speed you have to jump, and the more speed the more points you get. This looks crazy when I jump like a bunny up, and down on slower sections. But considering there is a target score to beat to unlock the next level you gotta bounce if you gotta bounce.
What warmed me up playing the game is the resemblance I see to one of my all-time favourite games ever: Jet Set Radio. The graphical style, subject matter and gameplay all resemble this classic game. Actually if there had been any kind of graffiti tagging in Axon Runners it could just as well have been called Jet Set Runners.
The combination of a cell-shaded style, and warm colourful backgrounds make Axon Runners a treat for the eyes. I took a whole bunch of screen captures writing this review, and all of them struck me with the same wow factor. Playing the game I didn’t really get the time to enjoy the lighting effects, and cool textures. That is the problem with high-speed games in general. The story is told by means of cartoon stills, and I would have liked the developer to use the in-game graphics instead to tell the story.
The music is driving electronic music that is good for the moment, but quite forgettable in the long run. Considering Coca Cola has had a hand in making the game this strikes me as odd. Coca Cola commercials have always featured memorable tracks, and not having a cool indie soundtrack for Axon Runners seems like a mistake.
There are quite a few story levels, and challenge levels to complete in the game. I am not quick enough to have actually beaten the game yet, and that is after spending ten hours with it. I have enjoyed every hour after the first initial frustration left me. This is the kind of game where completing levels isn’t all, but pulling off cool moves mid-level is just as important and fun.
Levels have different goals besides the scores to unlock the next level. Collecting enough orbs warrants different accolades. There are also ten different hoverboards with different abilities to unlock.
The game is a universal binary working on iPhone 4, iPad 2 and up. Sadly the description of requirements state that this will work with earlier models as well, but there has to be 512 MB of RAM to run properly. People that have bought the game with one of the listed devices should ask for a refund since this is clearly a messy description.
I have played Axon Runners on an iPhone 4S, and a New iPad. The game controlled quite well even on the smaller screen, but to get the most out of the game you are better off playing on an iPad. With a larger screen the controls aren’t as twitchy, but more importantly you get a better view of oncoming obstacles.
Axon Runners is a cool hover board racer down tunnels in a futuristic cityscape. It is really fun combining ultra responsive controls with high speed, and a lot of room for cool moves. Worth noting is that there is no ads, and minimal Coca Cola product placements in the game. The downside of this is that the game comes at a higher price, and $3.99 is a bit expensive as there is no lite version to try first. If you like the game there is definitely enough to warrant the price, but if you can’t come to grips with the controls it is dollars down the drain. If you want a combination of Jet Set Radio, snowboarding and cool presentation Axon Runners delivers.
Axon Runners $3.99 Universal binary for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: Streamline Media Group, Inc.