There's something quite stagnant about the side-scrolling endless-runner genre. Recent entrants have felt staid and lacking in innovation, as though nothing has really changed since we first pounded the floors of Canabalt.
But now Lub vs Dub has come along and injected something new into the genre. Half single-player endless-runner, half same-device multiplayer scramble for points, it feels fresh and exciting.
The single-player might stick closely to the standard setup, but the multiplayer is a brilliant blast of twisting platform genius.Bu-dum bu-dum
In the single-player you play as a white blob sprinting down the spikes and bumps of a heart monitor readout. Little jagged ridges need to be jumped over by tapping on a button on the right of the screen, while the larger peaks require you to flip to the other side of the line by tapping a button on the left of the screen.
Hearts litter the runway, and you final score is calculated by the number of hearts you've grabbed and the distance you've run. Various power-ups drop into your path, too, some speeding up your run and others offering a score multiplier or a magnet. Hit three obstacles and it's Game Over.
The single-player is fun, fast, and pretty generic. And if it were the only portion of the game it would fail to escape the endless-running malaise. But luckily, Lub vs Dub's multiplayer is a brilliant, crazed battle for supremacy that'll hold your attention long after the single-player portion is forgotten.
Here two players on the same device take control of the titular opposed blobs. The controls, which are identical to the single-player mode, are mirrored at the top and bottom of the screen, and the first to collect 50 hearts is declared the winner.
Power-ups entail various buffs, boosts, and hindrances, and rather than having three lives to waste, every time you crash into an obstacle you lose some of the hearts you've collected. Each player needs to collect hearts of his own colour, meaning matches are always wonderfully close.Heart attack
When you're on your own Lub vs Dub is an engaging but ultimately forgettable little game, but when you invite a friend around to play it becomes a brilliant battle of bouncing madness that sparks to life with every round.
If you think the endless-runner genre is flat, grab a friend and grab Lub vs Dub and you'll be laughing and swearing into the wee small hours.