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Run Like Hell Review

Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
Mass Creation
Mass Creation
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
September 16, 2014

After attempting to grab the tail of the raging tiger that is Destiny , I figured I’d find a respite in a small, straightforward game. There’s no massive controversy surrounding a blockbuster production here. There’s no gazillion-dollar budget and legions of satisfied gamers doing battle with legions of pissed-off gamers. Nah, Run Like Hell is a fun albeit incomplete little platformer that reverts you to a time when gaming was much simpler. And when I say simpler, of course I’m referring to concept and mechanics, ‘cuz we all know older games were much more challenging.

One can find evidence of Run Like Hell ’s throwback persona in the bright, vibrant visuals. This colorful palette actually reminded me of the lost days of California Games , with the ironically comical difference that in this game, you’re running for your life. The effects are somewhat understated but they fit the tropical atmosphere, and I always appreciate hand-drawn graphics. The game exudes a unique, attractive style, as its cartoon-y exterior belies the title and serious situation in which the main character finds himself. In other words, like so many games of old, it’s a tongue-in-cheek side-scrolling adventure.

The game is lighthearted and fun and as such, the soundtrack and effects reflect that theme. The music clearly has its roots in bouncy island music, but it’s also fast-paced and strangely hypnotic. In fact, the score adopts a surprisingly central role in the game; it was hard for me to imagine racing along without the incessant tiki-tiki-like beats following my every step. There isn’t much else to talk about regarding technical presentation, although I will say it’s not exactly impressive. Here, you’re not evaluating a ton of voice acting performances, nor are we talking about photorealistic graphics. The level design is decent, though, and that music is just so essential.

For a brief history lesson, Run Like Hell originally launched as an iOS production in 2012. Now, Polish developer Mass Creation has brought their ceaseless running game to Sony’s portable, and it does offer a fair amount of entertainment value. The problem is that it’s incredibly one-sided, it’s relatively short, and it’s not perfectly stable. The concept is sound and while the execution isn’t 100 percent accurate, the game does have that invaluable addictive element. It just depends on whether or not you’ll grow bored or frustrated before you complete the hectic adventure.

I’m calling it a platformer but one could also call it a “runner,” that new sub-genre of side-scrolling gaming that has a character racing pell-mell, encountering obstacles and snagging the occasional power-up. In this case, the protagonist must escape tireless hordes of cannibals as they chase after him with murderous intentions. You must jump, slide and dash your way to freedom, conquering the island’s wide assortment of obstacles. With every misstep you come closer to your own demise, and that’s incentive enough for you to keep going. All “runners” offer this kind of urgency, and it does work to some extent.

One bonus is that you’re not limited to simply running and jumping. There are a few power-ups that add some spice to the gameplay: Lightning Strike is the most powerful, which stuns your pursuers for a few seconds. That may not sound like much but when they’re nipping at your heels, Lightning Strike can be a lifesaver. Fog doesn’t stop the natives but it does slow them down. Then there’s Adrenaline that lets you move faster simply by pressing forward on the d-pad. It shouldn’t be used unless you know what’s coming, though; you’re already moving at pretty good clip and going quicker can lead to disaster.