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Relic Rush

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Doesn't stop to look back

Product: Relic Rush | Developer: Jason Pickering | Publisher: Forest Moon Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure, Arcade, Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Relic Rush iPad, thumbnail 1
A lot of iOS developers think they've been ever so clever in stripping back the classic platformer to its bare essentials for mobile play. They're nearly all wrong.

You might think that Rayman Jungle Run managed to pare the form down to an elegant minimum, but Relic Rush could show even that masterpiece a thing or two about streamlined controls.

Here's a platformer that doesn't even make you jump.

Indy game

It's up to you to guide a pixel-art Indiana Jones wannabe to each level exit. You'll automatically run from side to side, ascending the correct ladders and even jumping over gaps when necessary. All of this is taken care of for you.

All you need to do is touch and hold the screen to stop your little explorer in his tracks.

You'll need to do this because of the various aggressive animals that patrol each simple stage, from leaping kangaroos (or are they rabbits?) to sliding penguins, depending on the world.

Miscalculate and you'll be sent back to the beginning of that screen, which will damage your chances of finishing the stage in a decent time.

The art of forgiveness

Such simple games live and die by their core mechanics, but fortunately Relic Rush's is a doozy. There's a real sense of pace and rhythm to play, and a flawless run of levels is highly satisfying despite the minimal input you'll have had on proceedings.

Part of this appeal lies in a finely judged collision detection system that allows you a decent margin for error when skipping and dashing through perilous sections. You'll be thankful for this when elements such as projectile bombardments and slippery ice come into play.

But mainly it's just that Relic Rush's approach to the familiar conundrum of how to get platformers to work on a touchscreen device feels so fresh and inviting. It's the very essence of the pick-up-and-play concept that iOS gaming is built on.

Relic Rush is extremely simplistic and not particularly varied, but when single-button gameplay is this refined it really doesn't matter much.

Relic Rush
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 21 February 2013
Relic Rush is one of the most stripped-back platformers you'll ever play, but the fact that it still feels immensely satisfying and rewarding to play is a testament to its thoughtful design
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Nov 2011
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mr_bez | 14:04 - 21 February 2013
Every time I read about this, it reminds me of "This Could Hurt", which had a similar 'press to stop' mechanic but was in isometric 3D. I never really got on with it, but I think it was the IAP-heavy focus of that game that put me off, so I may give this a try.