When you choose to place the word ultimate in your game title, you need to back it up with some evidence of being the ultimate in your field. Never has that disconnect been so pronounced than with Ultimate Runner. Priced usually at £15.99, I bought this at 90% off on sale for £1.59 and still had a terrible time with it. This game is a mess from start to end.
Taking on one of several costumed characters, you’ll start an endless run forward down a 2D corridor of obstacles to avoid. There are one, two or three lanes available at any time to move between and you can jump over, or slide under things. Lastly enemies can be kicked or rolled into and occasionally jumped on if you have a certain power-up. It’s everything you’d expect from a runner game that’s been a mobile staple for years but it feels like everything has been built on fuzzy controls and physics. As the game starts off slowly, you get into a rhythm for the first 30 seconds… then all the bugs seep in.
Each run is procedurally generated out of segment pieces of track but often the game places 5 or more of the exact same thing back to back. Then it will place a narrow bridge to run down but sometimes the bridge will have a gap to jump. Sadly, that gap doesn’t always graphically appear and so you die at random without warning and there is nothing you can do about. Graphical glitches plague the ability to jump and move between lanes too. Sometimes it works, sometimes is doesn’t. I lost count of the the times I ended up wedged between lanes unable to do anything. This seems to happen mostly when you are jumping between lorries or shed roofs but every third run I’d get stuck.
This might be tolerable if there was an engrossing challenge at play but Ultimate Runner doesn’t have that either. As the game gets faster, where you jump and land changes and sometimes things just simply don’t line up. Enemies or obstacles can’t be avoided as the game speeds up to a point where it can’t keep up with itself either as the slow character movement desyncs from the game speed. It is lazy, cheap and cheats you out of a game experience that seemingly just collapses under its own steam. Add in repetitive music and zero incentive to replay after unlocking a couple of ugly character skins and you are stuck with chugging through a several hour platinum out of spite and hate.
I cannot recommend Ultimate Runner in any capacity at all. It is a broken mess with a vastly inflated RRP that borders insulting. It takes an awful lot for me to be upset that a game is so poor but this game is added to the very small short list of “ones to avoid at all costs”. Don’t do it.
Broken with bugs and unsatisfying to play, this grossly overpriced product should not cross your path unless its on an extremely deep sale for genre completionists only.
I liked the theme, even if that ends up getting confused over the course of a run.
Graphical glitches mean each bridge potentially can kill you and can't avoid it.
Physics glitches mean the character movements can't keep up with the game itself, leading to game over's and frustration.
Your character gets stuck between lanes when jumping and moving.
Zero replayability structure means you are just playing for the platinum and nothing else in game. It's an empty shell.
Game starts to chug under its own speed the longer you survive.
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