So where are the Metal Runners then? Rock is a bit soft for my taste.
A generic dude running through mines picking up gems, keys and diamonds could be a simplified description of Rock Runners. However there are some aspects that still make it feel quite fresh. For one there are different routes to take when you reach harder levels. You have to use teleporters to go back in the level to reach platforms above you for example. This gives the game more of a platformer feel than most endless runners achieve. For each level you also get three objectives to get three stars. These can be to avoid getting hurt, finding most gems and beating a set time. What sets Rock Runners most apart from other games in the genre is the short levels, and the cool level selection screen.
Instead of going for the ordinary numbered level selection you get a grid of octagons that you complete to reach harder levels. You get to know what levels contain special items, and can focus on getting those. There are also keys needed to unlock certain levels, and you might have to replay previous levels to find more keys. This approach makes Rock Runners memorable, as a game.
Rock Runners continue the tradition of casual running games by just allowing you to run to the right. I don’t know if this deeply rooted tradition comes from how we read Western languages: from left to right. What direction would an Arab endless runner approach?
All controls are focused on one simple touch. Jumping, holding onto grappling points and using special gravity boards are responsive. Our hero is quite agile, and quick when boosted by gems. Stumbling slows him down, and if he gets hurt three times the game is over. Personally I prefer running games to be one strike, and you are out.
The presentation is nice, but nothing special. The palette used is quite conform to what casual games from Chillingo tend to look like. Not bad, but not terribly exiting either. The same goes for the music that is there for the moment, and forgotten as soon as you exit the game.
Rock Runners does some things in a fresh way such as the excellent inspired level selection menu, and adding some exploration to an automatic runner. The hero running through the mines is a bit too generic, and I get that this might be to be able to customize him. Still I prefer a proper character with a name, and a reason for me to care.