A lot of the innovation taking place in the App Store can be found in endless-running games. From Canabalt's rip-roaring escapes to Tiny Wings's controlled plummeting, the genre is constantly evolving.
My Army is no different - it presents an almost entirely new approach to a mechanic that's proven so addictive in so many forms before.
Fusing together response-testing obstacles and explosive action, the game is a frantic blend of running, shooting, saving, dodging, and above all panicking as bombs, bullets, and barbed wire try and stop you in your tracks.Run four your lives
The first thing that My Army changes is the perspective you're running from. Rather than viewing the action side-on, you view it from above, tilting your phone to avoid the obstacles that litter your path.
And there isn't just one of you. You lead a party of four soldiers from a landing craft as far through enemy territory as you can. The four soldiers represent the number of hits you can take. Once they're all dead, it's Game Over.
To begin with you're dodging fences and mines, but pretty soon you'll be weaving your way through a hail of enemy gunfire. Your soldiers will retaliate, but they have a limited ammo supply that can only be replenished by picking up special crates.The big push
As well as avoiding deadly pitfalls, you have to keep a look out for the precious bullets that keep your path clear of enemy combatants. But that's not enough for My Army, so it introduces missiles that can rain death down on your platoon.
You can clear the missiles by tapping on them, which is easier said than done when you're tilting to avoid a minefield and trying to grab a few more bullets. And then the bombs appear. These are represented by targeting reticules, and you have to sweep them off the screen or face explosive termination.
So you're tilting, swiping, and tapping as your hardy bunch moves ever upwards. If you lose a soldier, you can replace him with one of the POWs that turn up later in the game, but none of them lasts long. Every bit of progress that you make adds to your total score, with new countries liberated the farther you travel.We will chase them on the beaches
My Army gets as tough as marine corps boots pretty quickly, pelting you with harder obstacles and bigger explosions. Through all this it remains utterly addictive.
It's not perfect, and it suffers from the same repetition that blights the genre as a whole, but when the bombs are raining down you'd be hard pressed to find a more frantic, heart pounding experience.
It won't go down in history, and in the end it's just a few tweaks to a tried-and-tested formula. But as tweaks go it's a ball-breaking, time-sapping winner.