App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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There are too many endless runners on the App Store, and most of them are virtually indistinguishable. Rodeo Stampede - Sky Zoo Safariis not one of these games. It takes the endless runner and adds a level of persistence and collection mechanics to feel like a fresh take on an old hat.
Running a zoo
As an endless runner, Rodeo Stampede has you running (well, riding) endlessly on a variety of zoo creatures including water buffalo, elephants, and more, all while trying not to hit obstacles or otherwise get tossed from your ride.
The catch here is that the animals you're riding aren't too happy about their situation, so after a certain amount of time, they'll do what they can to try and toss you off. Luckily for you, you have a lasso that you can use to jump from animal to animal, and it is this mechanic that helps the endless runner portion feel more active and unique.
You must build a zoo
Aside from the endless runner bits of Rodeo Stampede, you find yourself the owner of an airborne zoo. The runner portions of the game are actually exercises in you trying to find new, unique animals to place in this zoo.
If this all sounds a little confusing, here's an analogy to explain. The easiest way to think of Rodeo Stampedeis as an endless runner version of You Must Build A Boat. When you are playing a round of the game, you'll be riding on various zoo creatures, trying to accomplish certain objectives and capture new animals. When you end a run, you can return back to your airship where you can upgrade your zoo exhibits and attract new visitors.
Rodeo Stampede's unique mechanics are nice, but part of what makes the game compelling is how charming and goofy it is. From the aforementioned zoo-that's-an-airship to the wild and pun-y animals you can tame, there's a lot to keep you amused beyond running and upgrading your zoo.
Things like this really help take the sting out of Rodeo Stampede's less-than-ideal game design choices, which include a bevy of timers that delay your progress and a bunch of other typical free-to-play shenanigans.
The bottom line
Rodeo Stampedetakes a tired formula and freshens it up a bit, to the point that it's not just a passing amusement. I wish there weren't quite as many barriers to advancement in it, but even so, Rodeo Stampede is flat out fun to play.