App of the Day: Run Roo Run

Kangaroo stew.

Version tested iPhone

What a splendid bunch we gamers are when it comes to our furrier, more fragile friends in the animal kingdom. Lemmings? Not a lot going for them in the way of looks or career prospects to be honest, so might as well toy with their natural inclinations for the betterment of our entertainment. Not even the humble slab of super meat is safe from the excesses of our imaginations, and the less said about hedgehogs the better.

Next to step up to the dinner plate is Run Roo Run from 5th Cell, developer of Scribblenauts as well as last year's iOS release Scribblenauts Remix (and if you haven't sampled the delights of that particular game yet, consider it your second App of today).

Roo's on a transcontinental rescue mission across Australia, which on your iOS devices means a journey that starts with a single tap, one that sets off an unstoppable chain of events across each of the game's single-screen levels as he moves from the left-hand starting line to the finishing line at the other end.

Spread across 20 chapters of 15 normal levels each (plus six 'extreme'), what starts out as a series of tapped, timed leaps across rugged vegetation evolves into brushes with swinging tyres, crumbling ledges, directional cannons and even the well-timed use of a gentle bounce off the heads of the birds that rush towards him.

As the game progresses these obstacles are combined, and while you'll speed through the levels at a brisk pace - stopping only to polish off the odd gold medal - the sheer variety of gameplay drives it all confidently to its conclusion.

"The sheer variety of gameplay drives it all confidently to its conclusion."

Sometimes it can feel like there's a greater whiff of luck than judgement about the sweet smell of success, particularly in the completion of each chapter's additional Extreme challenges, which offer a hardcore take on each Chapter's obstacle theme, but you won't really mind.

Like all good games bustling around the low-fi scene, there are playful digs to be had at the gaming zeitgeist too, such as the 'For Science' chapter that sees Roo teleported from spot to spot across the map, often straight into an ill-timed spike that you really should have been paying attention to but you'll know to accommodate at the next attempt.

All this is accompanied by the sort of music I can only describe as "infectiously Australian", which is probably going to lose us a few Australian readers if they're up at this hour. That said, "jaunty adventurousness" probably isn't the worst stereotype anyone's ever had thrown their way and - as one of only two males in a household of five - I was raised on a strict 80s diet of Australian trash TV so I hope you'll forgive me.

My iPad is stuffed to the brim with games that promise to deliver the next Elite for the price of a can of Coke before running away with my interest after a day. A dollar or two of fun though is money well spent in my book, and what I like the most about Run Roo Run is knowing that you can play it, have tremendous fun enjoying its charms and challenges, and then be done with it, satisfied to move on to the next gem with a feeling of time well spent.

App of the Day highlights interesting games we're playing on the Android, iPad, iPhone and Windows Phone 7 mobile platforms, including post-release updates. If you want to see a particular app featured, drop us a line or suggest it in the comments.

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