Playman Extreme Running

The reason parkour is cool is the locations and participants. Chiseled urban warriors leaping around buildings in Paris and London might be gritty, edgy and stylish, but we wouldn't have been half as impressed if parkour had been invented by a bunch of blokes in Peacocks tracksuits climbing over bus stops in Norwich. Like we said, location and participants.

Thankfully, it wasn't, so parkour is the bee's knees of made-up urban sports – although, admittedly, all it's competing with is urban golf. That and abusing traffic wardens.

It might seem like a strange choice of sport for Playman, RealArcade's mobile hero who's previously chanced his arm (and legs) at athletics, winter sports, football and volleyball. A strange choice, but an excellent one it turns out, for Playman Extreme Running is a supremely accessible mobile game with bags of character – and huge replayability.

It's also the first Playman game to feature two main characters; Playman and his sister Blaise. Your task is to run, jump and somersault your way through 12 locations, each containing three to five different missions.

These include sprints where you race another character, flag hunts where you have to explore the level to find five flags, and 'Score FLOWs' where you have to rack up points performing stunts while running to a finish marker.

The different moves are introduced as you progress through the game, starting with scrabbling up walls and diving off ledges, but progressing to swinging on lamp-posts, somersaulting off walls, and 'monkey vaults'. Playman or Blaise automatically runs straight ahead, so you just use the directional buttons to trigger the various moves as the characters interact with the scenery.

The star of Playman Extreme Running is the fluid animation as you haul yourself around the levels – it really is top-notch. Meanwhile, the levels themselves are marvellously laid-out, giving loads of scope for high-scores, especially on the free-roaming missions.

Also impressive is the game's progression curve. Completing missions unlocks new locations, but the crucial point is that this doesn't mean you have to complete all missions on a location to open the next one.

As a result, if you're really struggling with one, it doesn't leave you stranded there, unable to progress until you've beaten it. A similar system was used for RealArcade's Turbo Camels: Circus Extreme, and we're all for it.

We really have been gripped by working our way through Playman Extreme Running's 12 locations. Not only first time around but also when going back to finish the missions we couldn't do first time round, or while trying to beat our high-scores on the ones we could.

All this, and there's an ace pass-the-handset multiplayer mode where you try to beat each other's scores and times, too. This really is one of the most well-crafted mobile games we've played this year and, even without whizzy 3D graphics, is one of those titles you'll recommend to friends to show them what mobile is capable of.

Simply excellent.

Playman Extreme Running

Superbly-crafted parkour platformer that will keep you playing for months
Stuart Dredge
Stuart Dredge
Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)