The endless-running genre has seen little innovation since it was first popularised by the beautifully minimalist Canabalt. For the longest time it seems like running in a straight line and periodically jumping is enough.
Run Like Hell! - much like its clone friend I Must Run! - doesn't buck the trend. In fact, it abuses the genre in a very obvious and cynical way.
The game is split into three modes: Endless, Time Trial, and Story. Story mode sees your character – a wayward explorer stuck on a deserted island – escaping from tribal cannibals over six levels, avoiding boulders, logs, and other obstacles.
The Xperia Play handles the job as well as you'd expect, with dedicated buttons for sliding and jumping. Holding down left on the D-pad gives you an adrenaline boost that can help keep you out of reach of the tribe's grasping hands.
Other pick-ups buy you time by putting more distance between you and the tribesmen, while there are coins scattered everywhere that can unlock more levels in Time Trial mode, which is essentially the same game but without the slobbering savages on your heels.
Meanwhile, Endless acts as a survival mode, closely replicating the unwinnable, highscore-chasing formula of Robot Unicorn Attack that made these games so popular in the first place.
The game doesn't ostensibly do much wrong. The cartoony visuals are decent (if a little fuzzy), the controls are relatively tight, and the levels can be refreshingly challenging or svelte depending on how lucky or unlucky you are when they generate.
It’s the aggressive business model invading the game that ruins everything. Between levels and deaths you're presented with a full-screen ad for a few seconds before being asked if you’d like ‘More info’ or to ‘Skip’. Many of these are for unsavoury-looking gambling websites and some are even video adverts.
This sort of intrusion is to be expected in a free game, but the ad-free version will set you back 50,000 units of the in-game currency, which means it either costs $10 to buy outright or a very long time to earn.
It’s this intense marketing and selling strategy that makes it impossible to recommend Run Like Hell! - especially when other games like Lame Castle and Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack! from the same studio are available for a fraction of the price.
Run Like Hell! is a decent game, with solid controls and enjoyable gameplay. It's just a shame that the route to acquiring it in full is so intrusive and expensive.