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Review

Run Like Hell! Review (PS Vita)

You can't catch me I'm the... oh.

Run Like Hell! was originally an iOS game that was released in 2012 by Polish studio Mass Creation. Now the developer has brought it over to the Vita and it’s set to hit the Playstation Store on September 17th.

The game is of the runner variety, which means your character is constantly moving from left to right along a side scrolling level and your control over them is having them jump or slide to avoid obstacles. However there’s more to Run Like Hell! than just controlling your character – if you can time your jumps, you’ll also be able to grab power ups that help keep your pursuers behind you.

There are two varieties of power up: Fog, which slows your opponents down for a few seconds, or the more effective Lightning Strike, which for a couple of valuable seconds stops them completely. Along with these pick ups there is also Adrenaline scattered across levels that allows you to move quicker by pressing forward on the D-pad. This should be using sparingly as you never know when you might need to counterbalance a small mistake.

Run Like Hell! has the option to play either Story Mode, Arcade or Online – the latter if you want to challenge other players. Story Mode has over 30 levels set across several different locations as your intrepid treasure hunter tries to reach his boat to escape the island he’s stranded on. During these levels you are chased by the tribe that resides on the island, and f they catch you before the end of the level, it’s game over.

These levels remain the same each time so you can learn them and progress as you play them more. As well as the regular levels you also have a few where you are not required to jump or slide but consists of the character sprinting while you toggle the L and R buttons in time with a swinging gauge. These do help to mix things up so it’s not just the exact same gameplay non-stop. The Story Mode also features a few cutscenes which update you on the character’s progress and usually signal that you’ll be hitting a new area of the island.

Arcade mode is your endless runner experience whereby the aim is to survive as long as possible. These are set into the distinctive areas of the island that you visited in the Story Mode but here you’re also collecting coins as you progress, which are the in-game currency of Run Like Hell! These coins (which you also collect during Online modes) are used to unlock character skins and buy one off Adrenaline boosts for Online races.

Arcade mode is where you will spend your time offline once you have finished the Story Mode so you can earn coins to help you in Online races. There is also the option to buy coins from the PSN if you so desire. There is also a bonus stage which features a new area and a different enemy chasing you but I won’t spoil it, as I thought it was a pretty cool addition.

RunLikeHell1

The online offering consists of 4 player races, 1 on 1 races or an 8 player knockout tournament (1 on 1 races). Only the tournament option costs coins to enter so you’re always able to play online and gather coins for free. Also finding enough people to play with shouldn’t be a problem because the game automatically fills any gaps with Bots. It’s not ideal but a much better solution than having three of you waiting for someone to join only for some of the original members to then drop out and the process begin again.

A lot of the time during my experience I was just facing Bots but there were occasions when I faced off against other players, and I’m sure when the game is released the online player count will spark into life. There are also a set of challenge modes in which you try to beat your friends’ times (or the global leaderboard) and as they are only open for a limited time it looks like they will be updated regularly, which will also help keep the content fresh.

The hand-drawn graphics fit the style of the game, and it looks pretty nice at points, even if it won’t set the world alight. The cutscenes, while very short, have a distinct visual style and the animation is quite smooth for the most part, and there is a decent colour palette on offer here for the folks who always moan about how grey or brown most games are these days! One thing I wasn’t entire sure about was the portrayal of the tribe people as cannibalistic savages. I suppose it’s done more in a cartoon-like way that plays to stereotypes but at times I just felt a bit uncomfortable with it.

What’s Good:

  • Bright, colourful graphics.
  • Decent selection of game modes.
  • Fun in short bursts.
  • Clever matchmaking means no empty slots in online races.

What’s Bad:

  • Not a great deal of plot in the story.
  • A little erratic at times in terms of the enemies catching you.
  • Grinding coins for character skins will take a long time.
  • Available cheaper on other platforms.

Run Like Hell! offers a good amount of content here for players – the main Story Mode took around 2 hours to get through and of course the Arcade and Online modes will go on for as long as you want to play them. I wouldn’t recommend this title to everyone, but if you’re looking for a smaller game to play in short bursts or if you’re a fan of the runner genre, then this is probably worth checking out.

Score: 6/10

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