Game Reviews

Galaxy Run

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| Galaxy Run
Galaxy Run
| Galaxy Run

In space, no-one can hear you yell, "whee!", but that doesn't stop plucky spaceman Rez from doing it anyway.

Galaxy Run is a single-screen endless-running/puzzle hybrid game that takes inspiration from 5th Cell's classic Run Roo Run. You navigate up, around, and over traps and pitfalls using a one-touch control scheme. It's very simple to learn and brilliantly fun at times.

Unfortunately, frustration sets in before long, and if you want to escape a sticky level it's going to cost you money.

Far from home

Galaxy Run stars Rez, an astronaut who's crash-landed far from home and needs to get back. He'll have to hoof it, given that his ship is out of commission, and it's no secret that space-walks aren't cake-walks.

Spikes, electrical barriers, and even gravity itself stand between Rez and his home sweet home. Rez is determined, though, and he has a jetpack. And his own theme song.

Thus begins a long trip divided into many single-screen scenes. Rez starts on the left side of each level. When you tap the screen once, he begins to run. When you tap again, he jumps.

You need to guide him safely to the finish line, which involves pulling off tricks like swinging on ropes, playing with gravity, and grabbing icons that allow Rez to perform double-jumps.

Ideally, each level in Galaxy Run should take you bare seconds to complete. The quicker you cross the finish line, the higher your score. If you dally for too long, you're not allowed to pass the level at all, and when you die you're flung back to the level's start while the counter keeps ticking. So - as obvious it sounds - the less you die the better.

Space death

Finishing a stage of Galaxy Run in a fell swoop is highly satisfying, like watching an osprey scoop up a fish in a single movement. The game's bite-size action portions make it a good choice for when you need to wait in queue behind customers that enjoy long, slow arguments with clerks.

The problems start when you inevitably hit a wall and find yourself helpless to clear a level, no matter how many times you try. Galaxy Run is merciless and demands pixel-perfect jumps. If you can't pull them off, you can't move on.

On the surface, it's silly to penalise a game for not going easy on you. Nobody plays Super Mario Bros and says, "screw level 8-3 - there should be a way to skip it outright so I can just get on with level 8-4."

But it's different when a game's levels are broken up into three-second portions that you're forced to attempt over and over. More often than not, you play difficult levels so often that you commit the same mistakes to muscle memory. The result is death after death.

You ought to be allowed to move on at least temporarily so you can come back with a fresh perspective. In fact, there are power-ups that let you skip levels - but once you spend your three freebies, you're expected to buy more through the in-game store.

Galaxy Run dishes up the same gravity-defying fun as Run Roo Run, but it doesn't improve on its predecessor's design mistakes. Even so, it's a solid action game, and definitely worth a go if you're into repetitive punishment.

Galaxy Run

Galaxy Run takes Run Roo Run to into the vacuum. Expect to trip on your mistakes over and over again until you're driven to the brink of space madness.