Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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For any gamers nostalgic for the classic style of the side-scrolling military themed shooters of gaming days gone by, Gun Runner is a must. This game takes what made these games fun and creates a similar experience on iOS without the need for lots of cumbersome touch controls or complicated gestures. Players simply run, and shoot guns at everything in their path. The developers, inspired by classic 80's games like Contra, have focused the shooter experience down to its essence and made it more accessible than ever.
Gun Runner is essentially and endless running game where the goal is to stay alive and running forward for as long as possible. The player controls a heavily armed soldier dropped in enemy territory. This soldier runs forward, gun blazing away automatically as the player jumps him over obstacles and aims his fire at incoming enemies. By tapping the right side of the screen, players make the soldier jump over pits and other dangers. By swiping up and down on the left side of the screen, players aim the soldier's steady stream of bullets up or down to decimate enemies in every direction.
Like many endless runners, the terrain and enemies are randomized in every game, giving it increased playthrough potential. The controls are simple and responsive, though on an iPad it can be hard to swipe up and down the entire height of the left side of the screen to aim. Some players will wish for a most structured game, divided by levels with beginnings and ends, but the endless runner format lends itself well to a more casual interaction with the game.
Every pixel in Gun Runner is placed as a solid homage to the 80's titles that inspired it. Even the heavy metal bleeps and bloops of the 8-bit soundtrack are perfect for a quick trip back in time with a shiny new game. Being free also means that no one interested in a pumped up retro adrenaline roller coaster has any excuse not to give it a try.