Developer: App Molecule
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

I adore the look of The Criminal Escape. It’s exactly the kind of look that made me think, “yeah, I want to play this game.” It’s a shame, then, that the gameplay doesn’t really hold up alongside such stylish yet minimalist looks.

The Criminal Escape doesn’t suffer from any glaring problems. It’s just that the gameplay is pretty basic. An Endless Runner, players control Jack Lilly, a prison escapee, who is embarking on a killing spree. Players dictate when he jumps and when he shoots at cops in his way. The former is done by swiping up, while the latter is a matter of tapping the screen.

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A few different types of obstacle get in the way, such as grenade boxes, crates and the cops themselves, but it’s all quite simple stuff. Shooting at two of the three types of obstacle are the best way of vanquishing them. Bullets and health transfer between gaming sessions, but it’s possible to buy more through the collectibles acquired while playing. Unfortunately, the backdrop of the game never changes, keeping to a yellow hue with shadowy buildings behind the player. It’s a small touch but some element of progression, in which the background changes would have been nice.

Because of the simplicity of the game, I’d have appreciated the addition of some achievements or a trickle of challenges similar to other Endless Runners, but it’s not to be. Combined with such basic potential, players will have seen everything that The Criminal Escape has to offer within five minutes. A shame, really, given that it’s got a cool and fairly original visual vibe going for it. It’s free, which helps it to an extent but I do wish there was more to do. It’s just too basic and undermines the neo-noir style.

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