Developer: Alper Sarikaya
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0.5
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

manuganu08I have no idea how to pronounce Manuganu, nor do I know what it means. It just looks llike a string of random letters to me. It’s supposed to be the main character’s name, but we all know names usually mean something. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say it must amount something like “gorgeous and fantastic endless runner.” Just a guess.

Manuganu is a kid with problems. Specifically he can’t seem to go anywhere without having to leap over chasms, dodge swinging boulders, or avoid all sorts of sharp-toothed nasties. Every single stage is full of them, as well as a number of tokens to collect, and players will have to make good use of the intuitive controls to dodge and collect everything. There are only two buttons (jump/double-jump and halting), and a single gesture (swipe down to slide) to worry about. Halting makes for an interesting addition as there are times when players won’t simply be able to run past something. Instead they’ll have to stop running, wait for an opening, then make like a tree.

It’s pretty obvious that Manuganu is freaking gorgeous. However, I found the gameplay to be even more impressive. Runners can sometimes feel “wrong,” depending on a number of factors. Sometimes the speed is off, or the jump timing, or the controls. Absolutely none of those issues are present here. It hits the not too fast or slow sweet spot, the buttons are big enough that they’re never accidentally missed, and there’s only one kind of swiping gesture so there are never any “That’s not what I told it to do” moments. The levels themselves are also wonderfully put together with plenty of branching paths and no wrong choices. Each one has a list of tasks that must me completed in order to earn three stars, including a few involving token collection, but there are so many spread throughout that players can take any route they choose and still grab them all.

manuganu03The only issue I’ve come across is that it can sometimes be tough to accurately predict Manuganu‘s trajectory. This is only really a problem when sliding down a wall or a rope, and typcailly only results in a missed token or two, but it did bother me a bit to miss them by virtual inches simply because I expected him to jump a little higher. Of course since the levels are filled with more than players will ever actually need to complete the challenges it’s not really a huge deal.

I knew Manuganu was a looker going in, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so polished and smartly designed. The controls are practically perfect and the levels are challenging but fair (and feature tons of paths to take). This is pretty much a shining example of the genre right here.


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