Sometimes simple fun is the best kind of fun. A game like Mr. Runner 2: The Masks by Zing Games is the perfect example of this. The original Mr. Runner was a hit, and the sequel seeks to both capitalize and improve upon that. If you're looking to get some arcade-style gaming in quick bursts on your iPhone, Mr. Runner 2 is one of many fine choices. It's got the features, character, and zaniness to carve its own path on the iOS market.
Stories in most mobile games seem to not matter much. At all. Still, they can add a little flavor every now and then. The story of Mr. Runner 2 is given to you in a quick cinematic at the start: Mr. Runner's head has been locked in a box. Anyone familiar with the quirkiness of the original Mr. Runner won't even bat an eye at that. Your mission is to run your way through different worlds and retrieve the key that will unlock your head. There's a certain trippy quality to it.
The main hub features Mr. Runner, erm, running, past different wolds in the form of portraits. clicking on an unlocked one will lead you to the level select screen, as each world has several different levels. Worlds and levels can be unlocked early if you have enough coins, but no sane person is going to be able to amass enough coins on their own to do that unless you pay for some in the micro-transaction menu. Right off the bat it's not worth it, but the temptation is always there. You can also get more coins by participating in social activities, such as liking the game on Facebook or tweeting about it. Game Center support is also here so you continue your achievement hording.
Once you enter a world, Mr. Runner just starts running. That's his thing, you know. By holding the right or left side of the screen you can either make him sprint or tell him to slow down. The slow command is much more useful than the sprint, as it's easier to slow down before the world comes down to crush you than it is to sprint past the falling columns/masses or general obstructions. If you successfully dodge being crushed Mr. Runner busts out a quick pose, and they change depending on how just close to death you come. This is all part of Mr. Runner 2's humor, which is prevalent. The intro levels feature a Pikachu-like creature that even let's loose with the catch-phrase. Of course, it turns out to be an over-sized hamster with a lightning bolt headband.
You'll also come upon items that allow you to gather more coins quickly, revive yourself after you've been squashed, and keys that will open locked chests. These items help to break up the monotony of running and stopping constantly. Make no mistake, Mr. Runner 2 requires strategy, but it's much more forgiving than something like Temple Run, which is more twitch-based. For only $.99, it's hard to go wrong here. Mr. Runner 2 is, frankly, a robust-featured blast.
Fun Factor: High, especially if you're a mobile-gaming addict.
Length: It will take time to master all of the worlds and levels, but it will take significantly less to just unlock them through micro-transactions. Still, it's more about mastering your technique than rushing through it.
Difficulty: Just right once you get the hang of it. Very casual friendly.
On the Negative Side: Micro-transactions allow for a little too much freedom.
Bang For Your Buck: Worth it! $.99 is the absolute sweet-spot.
Critic Score: 8
Contributed by Associate Staff Writer Reuben Levine