By Eric Pankoke on Sun, 05/08/2011
As I’ve grown to have less time for playing games, I’ve come to appreciate the simpler things in entertainment. For example, I’m just as content playing a quick dungeon crawler like Sword Of Fargoal now as I was playing a sprawling RPG like Might & Magic when I was in high school. However, despite the fact that I’ve seen on many occasions where simple can be fun, simple doesn’t always mean fun. Sadly, Finger Runner is the perfect example of this. I think the concept is sound, but the execution is frustrating more than anything.
Your basic objective is to keep your finger on a constantly moving path. This seems simple enough, but as the game progresses there are more and more turns in the path and it starts to travel faster and faster. If you veer too far off the path you start to get warnings and eventually the game is over. On Ultimate mode there are coins to collect, but you have to decide whether you want to go for it all with the coins and risk ending up in warning mode or you want to play it safe and potentially get a lower score. With Top Speed mode you get higher score multipliers the farther you travel. Essentially both modes are about getting the highest score you can before veering off the path too often.
Ultimate mode is frustrating because there are way too many opportunities to stray too far trying to get coins. If one of the objectives of this mode is to grab coins, you should be able to do this most of the time without incurring penalties. Otherwise, it’s really no different than Top Speed mode. Top Speed, on the other hand, is just kind of boring. Both modes suffer from not providing enough input on how “in danger” you are of losing. It also appears that once you’ve started the warning counter – whatever that even is – that there’s no turning back. It seems to me that if you trigger the warning and then stay on the path for a while that this should reset.
The graphics are quite basic. It mainly consists of a bloated line acting as the path and the visuals of the coins. There is a ring to indicate where you’re pressing on the screen, but this naturally is usually covered up with your finger. Sound effects consist mainly of a noise when you pick up a coin and the annoying alarm when you get into warning status. At least there is a bit of applause when you cross certain distances on Top Speed mode. The music during the menu and Top Speed mode is pretty decent, though I don’t really care for the song that’s played in Ultimate mode.
Overall this feels to me like a case where simple just didn’t work. The closest comparison I can make to Finger Rider genre-wise is a “run as long as you can” style game, but there’s something about those games as a whole that makes me say “just one more time” each time I play. With Finger Rider, I was ready to pack the game up after a couple of tries. I’m not sure if it’s the perspective, the bland visuals or what, but something didn’t click with me. It’s definitely challenging, but I want a game that’s challenging AND will last me more than 30 – 45 seconds a run. Finger Rider simply isn’t it.
Overall Score: 4/10
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