Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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We have all played mediocre 3D endless runners that shamelessly ape Temple Run to disastrous effect. We have all played mediocre movie tie-in games. Die Hard is a movie tie-in game that's a 3D endless runner. While it is not particularly inspired in either category, by adding an interesting, if imperfect action mechanic to the formula, it at least rises above mediocrity.
First off, let’s get the disappointing thing out of the way: players control Jack McClane, not the famous series protagonist John McClane. This is a tie-in to the movie A Good Day to Die Hard, but apparently Fox Digital Entertainment couldn’t pony up for the rights to Bruce Willis’ likeness? Dude was in Apocalypse for the PS1, come on! Players can unlock the classic outfit from the first Die Hard movie (the best Christmas movie of all time) but not playing as him is a bummer.
For readers who are still here, the traditional three-lane gameplay is in effect here, with obstacles to try and jump over, but they aren’t the threat here: the numerous gun-toting Russians are. Why Jack McClane is running constantly and not taking his time is unknown; perhaps there’s a giant evil monkey, or the looming shadow of his father’s legacy creeping behind him. Players tap on the screen to fire at enemies, swipe up to jump over obstacles, and swipe down to reload. Lane switching is accomplished by swiping; thankfully all turning is automatic and the lane switching reacts very quickly, which is a relief considering that other games I’ve played with the mechanic usually do it poorly.
The game’s pace could be quicker; Jack McClane isn’t going to put Usain Bolt out of a job any time soon. Those racewalkers or winter biathlon folks might want to be careful, though. The combat is simple, yet surprisingly engaging. This is a good mix for 3D running and combat, and getting to use bonus weapons or characters with special attacks livens up the combat as well. The problem is that players do eventually hit a wall in their sessions where enemies get too powerful for the amount of ammo that they have, so the game does encourage powering up by spending coins even early on, though I do wonder how effective of a paywall it really is when it threatens to turn players away so early in the experience.
As an endless runner that mixes in some light-gun-style action with the endless runner formula, Die Hard ain’t terrible. But seriously, pay Bruce Willis next time.