I had a chance to review Axon Runners for iOS, which is a hoverboard racing\platforming game that is set in the fictional city of Persepolis. As one of the Axon Runners you have to carefully jump and glide your way through each course while grabbing energy orbs to keep your speed up for higher scores. The game features 15 levels at this point, but the developers have promised additional chapters in future updates. Please continue on to read our full review of Axon Runners for iOS below.
EB 7 out of 10 Buddhas
The Awesome: Fast paced SSX-like gameplay, Simple swipe controls, Great in-game visuals
The Not so Awesome: Price, Occasional crummy checkpoints
Fast paced SSX-like gameplay
What instantly came to my mind when I first fired up Axon Runners is the realization that the gameplay is almost SSX-like. Obviously it doesn’t take place on a mountain range, but AR’s hoverboard racing mechanics feel very similar to SSX’s snowboarding action. Outside of not having the ability to do insane stunts while obtaining massive air like you can in SSX, AR’s jump-to-go-faster mechanic does make the game feel similar to EA’s rebooted SSX franchise.
Notice the SSX comparison?
In fact, the gameplay is similar enough that I wish the developers packed in some sort of hoverboard tricks inspired level, where you’re only task is to rack up as many points for doing stylish jumps as possible. Regardless, if you like board themed racing games that take inspiration from the sports of skateboarding and snowboarding, you’ll probably dig Axon Runners.
Simple swipe controls
Axon Runners features some brilliant swipe controls that enable anyone with a thumb, and/or some fingers, the ability to play it right out of the gate. To avoid obstacles in the course all you have to do is lightly swipe to the left or right on your iDevice’s screen, and then your Runner will shift accordingly. To jump from surface to surface all you have to do is swipe with authority in the general direction of said surface. There’s no virtual buttons to push in timed sequences to ensure your jumps will clear the obstacle, which is fantastic for a touchscreen based game. I love that I can intuitively swipe on the fly from one side of the course to the next without having to fight with crappy touch controls.
You can easily jump from section to section with just a finger swipe
Great in-game visuals
The in-game visuals (meaning gameplay) of Axon Runners are nothing to balk at either. I played the game on the new iPad, and outside of some non-Retina-ized story boards, the game looks very high-end. I didn’t notice any frame rate skips while playing, and the game world looks right out of the future. AR’s story is told through some vivid looking comic book panels that look great on all of the devices that support it outside of the new iPad. It’d be nice if these visuals were updated for the larger Retina screens, but on the smaller iDevices such as the iPhone 4S, they look fine.
Axon Runners has a very pleasant style
Unfortunately these story screens don’t look quite as sharp on the new iPad’s Retina display
The Not so Awesome
Considering that Axon Runners only has 15 levels, and is co-sponsored generously by Coca-Cola, I would have thought that it’d be free of charge, or at least $.99. For some reason this game costs $3.99! I just don’t feel like you get enough in the game to warrant that price point. Sure it looks great, but AR isn’t as nearly loaded with features like an Infinity Blade 2, which definitely earns it’s $5.99 price point. I can’t really tell you that AR is worth $3.99, but it is a fun game to play, so you’ll have to make the final purchase decision.
Not enough content to warrant a high price
(Only 15 total levels)
Occasional crummy checkpoints
There are times in Axon Runners when you’ll hit a tricky section of a track, and if you die at the wrong spot you’ll be respawned in a place that almost guarantees that you’ll keep dying in the same section over and over until you restart. I love the instant reloads after death, but I’m not a big fan of being restarted directly in front of an obstacle, which leaves me no room to maneuver around the trouble that killed me in the first place. This tends to make the game a little more frustrating than it should be. I guess if you never die then this issue is a mute point, but unless you’ve played the tracks over and over, you will be getting respawned more often than not.
Sometimes you can be restarted in less than ideal starting positions after a death
The Final Verdict
Axon Runners is a pick up and play futuristic racing game that feels similar in nature to SSX, but rather than hitting the slopes, you take on race courses throughout the futuristic city of Persepolis. The controls are as simple as swiping left and right on your iDevice’s screen, so any level of gamer will be able to play it if their reflexes are quick enough. Unfortunately, Axon Runners is a little pricey for the content it provides at $3.99, and at times you’ll get hosed by some crappy checkpoints. With all things considered I’m still giving Axon Runners an EB 7 out of 10 Buddhas. You can download the game here, or you can check out a trailer for it below. You’ve been needing a new time killer for your iPhone 4S…
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