Previews

Hands on with... Playman Extreme Running

RealArcade's sporty hero turns his hands (and feet) to parkour

Hands on with... Playman Extreme Running

Playman Extreme Running is due out later this month from RealArcade, and we've got our hands on an early preview version to see what it's all about.

Extreme Running? Like when I'm running late and have to really peg it to the bus stop?

No. At least, not unless your route to catching the Number 21 involves somersaulting over park benches, shinning up walls and leaping between tower blocks like some kind of urban mountain goat.

Well...

Tsk. Playman Extreme Running is the first (to our knowledge) mobile game based on parkour, the street sport that involves running, jumping and backflipping off urban scenery. At least, it started as a sport. Nowadays you're as likely to see it in adverts or movies – for example, a high-profile chase in last year's Casino Royale Bond film.

So who's Playman?

He's RealArcade's self-created sports star, who's previously appeared in mobile games based on athletics, winter sports, football and beach volleyball. And now he's taking to the rooftops in this game, along with his sister, a new character called Blaise. To be honest, she looks a lot like Playman, except with childbearing hips.

That must be confusing. So what do you have to do?

The game is spread across 12 different locations, each with plenty of ledges, roofs and walls to leap around. Within each location, you have three to five different events, which can include racing another character, collecting five flags dotted around the level, or showing your trick skills to pick up as many points as possible.

Tricks? Surely pulling rabbits out of thin air can't be safe when jumping off buildings!

Ho ho. Playman (and Blaise) can somersault, roll, vault and bounce off walls like parkour pros, with your score increasing, boosted by your 'flow' – a bar that goes up if you manage not to stumble. The game's introductory levels show you how to do them.

Is it any good then?

Playman Extreme Running is shaping up marvellously, with smooth and fluid animation, and the finely-tuned difficulty curve you'd expect from the company that produced Pocket Gamer office fave Turbo Camels: Circus Extreme.

The early levels introduce you to all the moves, and let you get your bearings well. We're impressed by the free-roaming feel of the levels, too – on the missions where you have to build up your score, you can go anywhere on the level you like, rather than being restricted to a set path.

Anything to worry about?

The game seems ninja tough in places, for example in some of the racing levels, where one slip is enough to leave you floundering in second place. Thankfully, you don't have to complete every level to unlock new locations, enabling you to progress through the game and then come back to the tough levels later.

Anything else I should know?

The game includes a pass-the-handset multiplayer mode, where you take turns trying to beat each other's time and/or score. And there's apparently a prize for completing all the missions in every location.

Sounds great. Now mind if I go? I've got a bus to catch...

Sure, mind the satellite dishes on that tower block as you go though. Playman Extreme Running is due out in the next couple of months, so click 'Track It!' for an alert when our review goes live.