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Portabliss: Run Roo Run (iOS)


Did you know that you can download handheld games now? That's amazingly convenient! The only inconvenient part of it is finding the right games to buy -- and that's where we come in, with our Portabliss column. In each installment, we'll tell you about a downloadable game on the iPhone, iPad, Android device, DSi, 3DS, PSP, etc. Today: Run Roo Run.

I was delighted to be able to bring you the first look at 5th Cell's new iOS game, Run Roo Run. I'm even more delighted to be able to report, after playing it for a few days, that it's totally fun.

It's a simple platformer that avoids the problems so many iOS platform games face, by combining a traditional-style platformer with auto-run mechanics. The levels are smaller and more carefully designed than most auto-runners, so you still have tricky, precise jumps planned out by an evil genius, but protagonist Roo runs automatically like in a Canabalt-type game, sparing you the heartbreak of having to deal with virtual directional controls.

And, for a while, it'll be simple -- maybe too simple. You'll just have to jump over a cactus here and there to reach the goal. You'll be done with the first chapter in a minute or two. But two things happen that make Roo's trip across Australia more interesting: for one, each chapter adds a new wrinkle to gameplay. You'll have to deal with fans that lift Roo up, buttons to retract spikes on the floors and walls, double-jump items, crumbling platforms, tire swings, springs, drifting cloud platforms, and more. Usually a few of these at a time. The levels are still tiny, but they do grow in complexity, making you work harder to get the gold star for zooming through it as quickly as possible.

The other complication is even more complicated. After you complete a chapter on normal, you unlock a chapter of "Extreme" levels to go with it. These levels have a lot more bite, requiring split-second timing to avoid multiple bundled traps. Once you start going through extreme levels, the rest of the game seems like a breezy extended tutorial.

All told, there are 420 levels in this one-dollar game. Well, that's true right now. 5th Cell is promising weekly delivery of new levels, for free. The first pack delivered 10 levels that combined all the tricks from each chapter and, as such, was only available once I'd finished all the built-in normal levels.

Now, I'm just waiting patiently for my next shipment of free levels.

Run Roo Run is available for $0.99 for iPhone on the iTunes App Store, or $1.99 for iPad. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

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