Game Reviews

Runaway: A Twist of Fate

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Runaway: A Twist of Fate

If you really think about it, the average point-and-click protagonist is kind of a jerk.

These so-called heroes steal stuff, trespass, get people fired, mess with history, destroy priceless artefacts, and ruin people's lives. All this, just to line their pockets with useless inventory items.

But the characters in Runaway take it to another level. In the course of this short game you ruin an experiment, dump a dead guy's ashes, shove a mentally unstable mime into an air vent, and vandalise an old man's most prized possession.

Worse than all that, Runaway rarely gives you any real motivation to steal half of the things you steal. You often nick things - in convoluted, multi-faced heists - before you even figure out why you'd want them.

Or if there is any reason behind your petty larceny (or vandalism or breaking and entering), it frequently requires such an enormous leap of logic that you need a run up to make the jump.

Put those together (and add in a little pixel-hunting for good measure) and you end up with arbitrary and obtuse conundrums, regularly devolving into frustrating use-everything-on-everything-else head-scratchers.

My little runaway

That aforementioned thievery also doesn't endear you to heroes Brian and Gina - then again, they are not particularly likeable even before they start stealing stuff for the sheer kleptomaniacal thrill of it.

These guys have loose morals (at one point, Brian cheats on his girlfriend while in the process of rescuing her), wonky dialogue, and plenty of miss-and-miss comedy. And the focus on Gina's stripper past - including lingering flashback scenes - is just plain sleazy.

The other characters - including a deluded mime, an Elvis impersonator, a fraudster medium, and an Nurse Ratched-esque pharmacist - are annoying and generic.

Run for your life

The story is - at the very least - exciting. It jumps from faked deaths to hospital breakouts to gruesome murders to crime scene investigations. Then again, it stops for part two way too soon.

I should add that the story will probably be a little disorientating if you didn't play the first two Runaway games. Which isn't very helpful, as A Twist of Fate (the third and final game) is the only one on iOS right now.

But while neither of those things is really the fault of developer Pendulo Studios, the unappealing characters and woeful puzzle design lands squarely on the developer's shoulders. As does the pixel-hunting, hidden hotspots, and endless infuriating bugs.

So after all that, the words "to be continued" seem like less of a promise, and more of a threat.

Runaway: A Twist of Fate

Runaway: A Twist of Fate is a typical Pendulo experience - shoddy puzzle design and cringeworthy comedy - wrapped up in a bloated, bug-ridden app
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown is editor at large of Pocket Gamer