All style and no substance!
Ah, the endless runner, so endless in fact that the AppStore has become somewhat of a bottomless pit for the genre. Jet Pack Joyride has set a high bar, particularly as it is now free. There are many others of note too, each adding a new twist to proceedings.
Escape From Age Of Monsters changes up the usual one tap jump mechanic and instead adds two – one on the left of the screen and one on the right. These taps control your characters magical fists, which you must use to break through on-coming walls and foes. Each fist is coloured – left is red, right is blue – and you must match up each blow with the same coloured obstacle.
Despite the simple controls, they don’t always seem that responsive. Both the taps seem like they need to be timed to a sweet spot for the game to respond, and many times you’ll come a cropper even though you know you tapped way in advance. The same can be said with powerups, which you must swipe to collect – it feels very fiddly and can be frustrating when you’ve got far, only to have to start again from scratch.
The game is broken up into buildings, with you unlocking new objectives and collectable items the further you get. Each one gets progressively faster and contains more blue and red walls or foes. Every so often you get what is described as Boss Encounters. These are actually simple button mashing tasks as you try and pummel your way through a giant slug… So not exactly worthy of the name ‘boss’! You have two kids running behind you which act like human shields and are your health in the game. Once they are gone there is nothing to protect you if the monsters catch up, and they’ll grab you if you miss another punch.
The art style is by far the best aspect of the game, and the opening cinematic is beautifully illustrated. In fact all the art is created by Jeff Matsuda, an award winning artist responsible for the Batman cartoon. However, beyond the cinematic it all becomes very samey, and to be honest it becomes a bit of a blur as you focus your attention on what obstacle is coming up next.
Overall, Escape From Age Of Monsters is a pretty, but by-the-numbers, endless platformer, that I doubt will stay for long on your iOS homescreen. It’s only $0.99, but to get far in the game will require the purchase of coins and items in the store.