Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Axon Runners is a game that never quite makes sense. It goes by too quickly to really enjoy despite the stylish elements at its core.
The premise is that players control a rider of a high-speed hoverboard, and must try to jump between walls to pick up speed and increase their multiplier. High scores are the goal, especially as new levels can’t be unlocked without getting a high enough score. New boards with new abilities are unlocked over time, including a shockwave that can burst through blocks at the cost of speed, and the ability to slow down time. There’s a story mode with multiple paths, that’s advanced through comic book panel sequences.
The problem is that I can’t make heads or tails of what’s going on. The game moves extremely quickly, and it seems like good performance is as much a fluke as it is anything to do with what I did. For example, on one later level, I was struggling to hit the prerequisite number of points. I then switched to an earlier board, and suddenly my score doubled for some reason, despite my multiplier hanging around the same level. I’m not quite sure why.
The controls are simple to use, involving simple taps and flicks, but it can be difficult to make a subtle jump to get out of the way of an obstacle. Not that it seems to hurt, because I’ve still gotten 5-star ratings despite crashing multiple times. I’m in the top 10% in Game Center, too, so I really don’t think it’s a case of me not being good at the game. Axon Runners does a very poor job at indicating just what is a destroyable object and what isn’t, meaning the shockwave ability is sometimes just not useful.
There’s some kind of integration with Coke Zero, but it’s not really expanded beyond the occasional logo in the game and some Coke-bottle-shaped objects. Otherwise, it seems like an odd inclusion, though the game was developed as part of the Coca-Cola Content Factory.
Axon Runners is a game that has some intriguing roots at its core: fast gameplay, flashy graphics, and a control scheme designed for touch screens. It’s fast, it’s just too disappointingly quick.