Mr. Runner 2: The Masks Review (iOS)
My impression of mobile games has always been fairly negative, given that most apps want you to make ridiculous in game purchases--which isn't even the worst part. The fact that most of them incessantly bug you about making those purchases is what really grinds my gears.
Mr. Runner 2: The Masks, a new addition to the endless-runner genre from Zing Games, doesn't necessarily escape my irritation because they do bug me about paying real money when I die or run out of bag slots. However, their saving grace is that the only thing you can purchase for real cash monies is in-game currency.
The game is fun, visually pleasing, and somewhat... well, unique. Plus, the music is fairly addicting. So step aside, Candy Crush.
The levels are fairly simple and straightforward.
You're constantly moving with the option to either speed up or slow down. You try to snag coins along the way, which can be spent on things like health potions (they revive you instantly when you die rather than actually 'healing' you in the traditional sense). You gain EXP per level depending on how well you do, and this EXP goes towards leveling your little endless runner.
The levels are arranged in a way similar to Angry Birds--each world has 5+ levels to complete and unlock. Once you've completed enough levels in one world, you unlock another.
More than once my finger wasn't in just the right place on my iPad, and I died because I didn't dash forward or slow down. Which can be irritating, since there's no image to remind you of the whereabouts of the press locations.
The cat chases you in one world, and a whale blows water at you in another. The big black blocks hanging from the sky drop down on you and squish you if you aren't careful, or paying attention--or have slightly moved your finger and thus can't speed up or slow down.
What does the Pikachu tail do? Don't ask me, I'm not entirely sure. He shows up at the beginning of the level (and it surprises your runner every single time), and then you chase him throughout.
This game isn't shy about achievements.
You get them for a ton of things--and each of them usually unlocks a new mask that you can wear over your locked-box-head (Why is there a locked box on your head? Well, from what I've gathered, some guy put it on you and then ran away with the key. Is the plot continuing from the first game? No idea). The idea is to unlock all the masks before the runner forgets who he really is.
Yes, that's a Santa face. Apparently you unlock this for playing on Christmas day. There's also a pumpkin head that you can unlock on Halloween (spoilers).
Honestly, the abundance of achievements is actually... refreshing. Call me crazy, but getting an achievement for everything I did was like cheering for a fish who can swim, and it felt great.
The music is addicting, the graphics are fairly unique, and the cash shop isn't terrible.
I wasn't kidding in my first few lines. The cash shop is annoying in the sense that Zing reminds you of its existence rather frequently. However, most of the things you can buy are also things that you can, by chance, run across in game. The only things you buy with real money are more coins--and if you log enough play hours, you'll have tons of coins and won't need to buy them.
You can see that playing for as long as I have logged me 5,000 coins. That's enough to buy mostly any power-up in the coin shop. Aesthetic items are more costly, and you unlock them as you complete the levels--only after they're unlocked can you actually purchase them with in-game currency.
Overall, Mr. Runner 2: The Masks is a fun mobile game that, while annoying about its cash shop, doesn't force you to spend money just to play the game. There's no wait time after you've died in order to play a level again--you can repeat failed levels as many times as you want in order to get the highest score and gather all the goodies as you run by. That alone makes me want to play.
While some of the features may be a little strange, it has a generally kid-friendly appeal to it for parents (though he does say "Damn it!" when he dies sometimes). This is one mobile game I would actually recommend to people who need to nurse themselves away from Candy Crush. This is a classy mobile game that needs to be made an example of to other developers--we want games like this.
King, maybe you should take a page out of Zing's book.