App Reviewed on: iPhone 4s
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Runtris is an endless runner in which the game's protagonist is completely helpless when faced the numerous pits in his path. Even the smallest gaps are insurmountable due to the lack of a jump button. Luckily, these pits can be filled by players by selecting the appropriately shaped block to fill the void and allow the character to keep on collecting coins. This is the world of Runtris, a runner that asks players to play a puzzle game at the same time.
Here's how the game controls work: The main character moves automatically and collects coins along the way. As the character approaches a pit, players must examine the shape of the pit and match it by tapping a block that is the same shape of the pit from a selection of three at the top of the screen. As players successfully match blocks to pits, the game speed increases, and certain elements start obscuring full pit shapes in the foreground, forcing players to think quickly and reason through the probable shape of a partially visible pit at the same time. In this way, Runtris isn't so much like Tetris as it is some kind of matching game, but the game's aesthetic and its block designs are certainly reminiscent of the aforementioned classic.
Occasionally in a round, the main character collects a blue power-up that propels them rather quickly through a series of pits that get filled in automatically. This is useful because the ultimate goal of the game is to get as far as possible and collect a bank of coins to spend in the in game store. Luckily, Runtris keeps its store prices relatively reasonable and doesn't follow any sort of in-app purchase model whatsoever. I say "luckily" because this helps keep the focus of the game on players actually playing it and trying to improve their skills rather than just paying for additional content.
On the flip side of things, Runtris does subject players to quite a few ads via a top bar that is constantly on the screen, which can be rather annoying. In addition, the game lacks any sort of meta game beyond the store, and the purchases available to players don't seem like they'd vary up the experience very much.
Overall, Runtris is a relatively average, but also completely free, experience. The game's name and aesthetic call Tetris to mind, but the game actually offers a matching game twist to the runner genre that is completely viable. It certainly isn't the most attention grabbing game out there, nor will it occupy players for hours, but it's really hard to complain about a free game that brings something new to the table, even if it is not the most interesting.