Developer: Jason Pickering
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Jason Pickering is a 3D animator that has worked on several titles for Crescent Moon Games, a studio known for its high-quality 3D graphics in most of its games. Now he’s working on his own solo iOS title, published by Forest Moon Games. So what would be a more fitting debut title for him than a one-touch 2D platformer with low-resolution pixel art? Wait, what? It’s kind of like listening to a band member’s solo project and discovering it’s like a completely different genre. Still, this is a clever little game that a specific audience will enjoy.

The goal of the game is to make it to the end of a gauntlet of 8 levels as quickly as possible. Players can do one thing: stop moving. Thus, it becomes a game of timing, learning when to move and when to stop. But, stopping too much is a bad thing, because in order to get a gold medal, players need to complete the level sets pretty quickly without hitting enemies or getting pelted by snowballs too often.

Remember our list of transit-friendly games? Add Relic Rush to the list. It’s perfectly playable in one hand with just one thumb. It’s great for sitting there and casually playing it. The mechanic is fairly simple, but it works. The game does react very quickly to players’ touches, and it’s set up to where the player has to be touching enemies or obstacles entirely in order to be harmed by them; for example, still being partially on a ladder will mean that the player stays alive as an enemy walks past.

Sometimes, just based on the nature of the game, it’s actually possible to defeat a level without ever pushing a button, because the adventurer starts running as soon as he spawns. And sometimes, the timing of the spawn is just perfect to run right through everything. Don’t expect it to happen all the time, but it will happen.

The art style is very, very low-resolution, which I kind of dig but it also makes everything appear blocky and hard to discern details on high-resolution screens. The chiptunes have an old arcade game feel to them that really fits the game.

As I said earlier, this game is perfect for those who ride mass transit and want something to do while standing up on a bus or train, or for anyone that just enjoys a low-res retro experience. The game is relentlessly simple, but it’s got fun in it.

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