I Must Run! Review—I Must Run Indeed

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I Must Run! is graphically amazing. This is the first thing that anyone viewing the game will notice. The way the character throws his limbs in the air when he jumps is animated perfectly. The environments are well drawn and dynamic. The backdrop is a pleasure to watch even if it is not your mind’s focus.

Gameplay-wise, I Must Run! is straightforward, in every sense of the word. This game might be the Mini that encapsulates perfectly the aim of the program. It is uncomplicated, bite-sized and perfect for pick-up-and-play. However, we’ve seen Minis that break our limited expectations and expand into otherworldly gaming experiences within the tight packaging. That being the case, I Must Run!, in its straightforwardness, is somewhat underwhelming.

This game is a “runner.” You control a character that is constantly on the move and keep him alive by jumping off ledges and sliding under stalactite-like structures.  There is a story behind the game: you are wrongfully incarcerated, escape the prison and are now on the run to save your loved one. It is somewhat irrelevant, given that this game is all about skills, not motivations and/or intriguing plots.

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Gamelion‘s previous Mini, Boom Beats, requires intense focus and great reflexes. The difficulty of Boom Beats is unforgiving, but the game’s presentation, visual and aural, makes the game enjoyable. In I Must Run!, this is also the case.

The visuals and sounds are gorgeous. The lightning and thunder effects of the first level add to the gameplay; it’s not merely empty aesthetics. You can observe the speed of the running character, and you can feel him slow down when he hits some boxes and other things.

The controls of this game are very responsive. The character is always in motion, so there is no button for running, altering his speed or stopping him. Up and X is for jumping (tapping them twice in-air causes the character to double-jump), Down is to slide and Square is to punch. As soon as the game starts, it’s all-out running. This game is fast-paced and doesn’t allow you to do anything but focus on the game. A second of distraction is enough for Game Over. This game has no health bar, credits or checkpoints. Right after you jump into new levels, you are subject to insta-deaths. Coming into new settings, you have no clue what the hurdles you have to face will be, meaning you have to learn the game by constantly dying and retrying.

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Having no second chances at all may make or break the game. I myself do commend this game design, but the lack of options is a letdown. A tutorial or a software manual listing down the things one must avoid would be very helpful. There are a lot of ways to survive in the game, but as you progress, you are not going to take chances anymore, since a single mistake brings you back to the beginning of the game. This is despite knowing that you garner more points the riskier your maneuvers are, like punching hurdles just before collision or jumping off ledges right at the edge.

The production values of this game are indeed high. The lack of anything else to do is a bummer. The I Must Run! game proper seems like  a “Survival” or “Endless” mode of a bigger game that can still be a Mini. The price is not scary, though, so it’s a win-win.

7.5/10

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Comments

16 Responses to “I Must Run! Review—I Must Run Indeed”
  1. Balrog says:

    Thanks for the review, i’ll need to get this!

  2. jvm says:

    It’s a great mini, in my opinion. I am fine with its spare design, because it’s all game.

    I would dock it a bit for the annoying pause between dying and restarting when played on the PS3. There is no problem on the PSP.

  3. volcane says:

    This is a wonderfully clean and pure game. The controls are perfect, the visuals & sound are great.

    I love it & play it every day, although I only have 2-3 goes each time. The better you become, the further you travel & therefore the more frustrating it becomes to die (which sends you right back to the start).

    The only thing I would have liked to see when beginning a new game would be the option to start from any of the levels that have been already completed (with your score restarting from zero). That would allow you to practice the later levels without the punishment of being sent back to the beginning when losing your single life.

  4. thumbbandit says:

    Nice title line… now where have I seen that before??? :D
    You also forgot to mention that the game layout changes every time you play… thus making it impossible to learn it.
    I agree with volcane, about level restarts… otherwise with my ADD (atention defisit disorder) I’ll never see the end. ;)

  5. Ofaliss says:

    Other than the fact that I have to start from the beginning when I die, I rather enjoy the game. Now if they released a patch that let’s me select the levels, and begin at the start of the level I died on, I would LOVE the game.

    Maybe one day I will make it past the sewers! :D

  6. Whiskasfan says:

    hmm…

  7. Whiskasfan says:

    c @ ? a 8 a 1 t

  8. Whiskasfan says:

    Replace @ with A, ? with N, 8 with B, 1 with L and google it.

  9. thumbbandit says:

    Replace @ with an O.
    ;)

  10. Whiskasfan says:

    I mean this game is a clone.

  11. Ofaliss says:

    If I had a dollar for every time someone complained about this being a Canabolt clone, I would have a nice little nest egg.

    When will people realize that few games are as original as the developer would like it to be. If no one made a game because the idea has been done before, no games would have been made after 1995.

  12. onmode-ky says:

    Whiskasfan, your original comment probably didn’t make it through because it included a URL, not because you’re not allowed to type “Canabalt” here.

  13. Whiskasfan says:

    Canabalt, canabalt! Oh, thanks onmode-ky, seems like i have paranoia.

  14. FriedConsole says:

    I like this game. The trailer had all this plot with dialog but I see none of that when playing the game. You just start playing. There is no save points so it is a bit frustrating to get really far and then screw up because the scenery does change after a while. I want to see the later levels but I guess I just got to get better.

    It is well done. Looks great and controls well. Not much more you can ask for with the price. More Minis like this please!

  15. thumbbandit says:

    I don’t get extra points for “jumping off ledges right at the edge”… but I do for just about making a jump, and in order to do that, I have to jump almost blindly… a leap of faith as it were.
    Other than that, a great review. ;)

  16. commentator says:

    I Finished the game, The end is totally disgusting at the last stage your wife is not with your enemy who kills you

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