Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Record Run is a mobile rhythm game from Harmonix, the developers of popular console titles like Rock Band and Dance Central. True to its name, Record Run focuses its musical gameplay on the runner genre, making this game feel like a timing based Jetpack Joyride that players can choose the soundtrack to.
The setup for Record Run's gameplay mechanics are presented in a very bright and fun style, both visually and conceptually. Players take control of an avatar that has just purchased a large crate of records, only to have them immediately stolen. From there, players chase the record thief down a busy street of furniture movers, break dancers, street trees, and other obstacles, all while collecting dropped records to the beat of the game's soundtrack.
Now comes the inevitable question asked about most rhythm games: "How is the soundtrack?" Unlike other games by Harmonix, Record Run has a very limited handful of songs available for players to play initially, but the game also allows for players to choose to import a select number of songs from their own music library that they can then play. This alone makes Record Run a pretty compelling package, since the soundtrack can be molded to each player's personal music tastes and preferences.
All of this does come at some cost, though. Record Run seems to generate levels based on an algorithm, which isn't a huge problem in and of itself but it does create situations in which levels can not feel quite as perfect a match for a given song as they probably could be with a curated library. Also, Record Run limits players initially to only three custom song slots, with the option to purchase or earn more later, so players looking to play for free should consider their song choices carefully.
Despite these issues, Record Run is still wrapped up in a pretty neat package. There is a mission structure that helps make replaying songs feel continuously challenging and worthwhile, a slew of upgrades that - once earned - can change up gameplay, and a rating system that makes getting through levels relatively easy but earning a perfect five star rating a significant challenge. All of this is engulfed in the aforementioned charm of the game's visual style, making it worth coming back to again and again, despite its flaws.
In the end, Record Run is a great showing by Harmonix on the mobile front. Playing one's own music is a blast and the level design works, even though none of it is perfect. As a free game, Record Run has a lot to offer and shouldn't be missed.