Game Reviews

Mr. Runner 2: The Masks

Star onStar onStar onStar offStar off
Mr. Runner 2: The Masks

Whether you're a superhero, a bank robber, or a guest at a fancy dress party, you generally wear masks in order to disguise your true identity.

Appropriately enough, Mr. Runner 2: The Masks wears a colourful mask that suggests a zany, larger-than-life game lurks within.

But underneath the distractions, it's really quite ordinary.

Keep on running

This sequel to the multi-million-selling Mr. Runner continues with the core principals of the original.

It's a runner (though not endless) in the truest sense, in that rather than pressing the screen to make your perpetually moving hero jump, here you tap it to adjust his speed.

As hazards drop from the sky - typically preceded by a tell of some kind - you must either hold the left of the screen to slow down or the right to accelerate.

It still stands out as fairly fresh because of the fact that few games have really mimicked this precise mechanic in the years since the first Mr. Runner.

Alternative route

The thing is, the reason most games have opted for the Canabalt school of perpetual running is that it's more fun.

There's something about the stop-start nature of Mr. Runner 2: The Masks that just grates. You never really get into a rhythm, and there are too many times where dying feels more like the vagaries of the control system rather than your own lack of skill.

It's also notable that, while each world is separated into numerous levels, they all look and play very similarly.

Lots of shiny things

Mr. Runner 2 lacks the inherent tactile fun of the best runners on the App Store, but advances have been made elsewhere that go some way to making up for the fact.

Developer Zing Games has really taken a huge step forward from the previous games in the series in terms of presentation. There's a bewildering array of collectible knick-knacks, throw-away pop culture references, customisation options, and amusing little touches (all of which are epitomised by the titular masks) to keep your eyes happy.

In fact, there's almost too much of this extra STUFF on display. The shower of coins that greets every opened chest is almost excessive, while the little knowing poses your character throws for every successful dodge grows tiresome after a few levels.

Then there's the extravagant level select screen that's constantly in motion as our little protagonist runs around in a loop, vaulting over toilets and running clear past the actual world entry section. It's cute and imaginative, but in the long run it's not great in the usability stakes.

It's almost as though Zing Games has realised that the Mr. Runner formula simply isn't strong enough to sustain a 'triple A' iOS sequel. In shooting for one with Mr. Runner 2: The Masks, the developer has slipped on an overly elaborate facade that overwhelms, impresses, and entertains - but never quite distracts from the game's inherent flaws.

Mr. Runner 2: The Masks

A flashy, gimmick-filled runner that throws a number of entertaining distractions your way to help deflect attention from some pretty bog-standard gameplay