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App of the Day: Tomena Sanner

"The Hulk got nothing on this mother!"

Hipster, eh? Tomena Sanner's salaryman knows exactly what to do with that sort - a swift boot, and they're off to space. This salaryman knows what to do with everything, if you time it right. He dunks, he dives, he does one-handed cartwheels over giant robots, he smacks sumos, he pimp-slaps pimps, and delicately flounces over dog turds.

Originally released on WiiWare in Japan, Tomena Sanner is a bats**t mental running game. "Business man Hitoshi Susumu is behind schedule and is in quite a rush. In fact, he won't stop once he starts to run!" On each of Tomena Sanner's nine stages the salaryman runs to the right while a steady stream of obstacles and passers-by come the other way. The player's only interaction is tapping at the right time to negotiate each hurdle.

As a rhythm game and as a running game, Tomena Sanner leaves something to be desired. Though its inputs are precise, its effects and animations offer only vague guidance as to when to press, and the high-score side isn't really meaningful. Tomena Sanner's appeal is everywhere else, from its increasingly demented twists on suburbia to the wisecracking commentary that follows salaryman's moves (or lack thereof).

It's one of those games where you want to see every animation and joke. Your taps will be either 'Miss', 'Good' or 'Great', and each has a bespoke outcome for every character and object you'll encounter. Mess things up and grannies swing their handbags, fat joggers unleash punches, schoolgirls giggle and salaryman gets flattened.

The timer freezes while salaryman performs certain routines - which, in the case of an ensemble cast, is just as well.

Get the timing right and as salaryman sprints he'll play pattcycake with cavemen, surf down dinos' backs and dropkick sullen teenagers out of the screen. He'll dance, surf, hop, tiptoe, shuffle and flip to the end of the course - each one of which, naturally, ends with a breakdance. Monks? Headbutt! Girls?!? Boogie!

Then there's that brilliant scrolling narrative, witty and devastating in equal measure. Beginning a race? "Time to get to work, slave of society!" As you slide down a bannister: "Kids! Don't try this at home!" Navigate a bikini-clad lady: "He jumps for Joy! I think that's her name anyway." These snappy comments are incessant, a constant narrative of your failings and triumphs, and always undercutting smugness. "A careful jump! Fine work for a coward."

Tomena Sanner is a one-button game, and not even an especially flawless one. But it gets the most important thing right: it makes each tap feel like a big moment, because the difference between Good and Great is wide indeed. Will salaryman carry this panda forwards with a spinning roll, or rub his groin against its luxuriant fur? You choose. Tomena Sanner's probably not the most fun you can have with one hand, but it probably is the most funny.

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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