Exercise may be hazardous to your health.
Before heading to San Francisco last week, we absentmindedly downloaded five "running" games. That's a testament to how many of the damn things exist on the App Store. That said, we had a blast with Grim Joggers, a universal game from 10tons Ltd. Although it follows the same basic formula as games like Canabalt and I Must Run, the developers put a unique spin on the action that makes it worth downloading.
With this in mind, it helps to have a light hearted and perhaps dark sense of humor, especially when it comes to watching virtual folks getting ripped to pieces. You see, Grim Joggers puts you in control of 15 exercise freaks hoping to burn some calories. To do this, these daredevils set off through four obstacles courses full of hazards, from man-eating polar beats and Venus fly traps to ice water, spikes and even landmines.
This is where you come in. To keep these fat burners from biting the big one, you must tap the screen to leap over the aforementioned dangers. Survive every few seconds, and you'll pass through checkpoints and increase the score multiplier based on how many dudes are left.
It's a crazy experience, because guys die at the most unexpected moments, and the gruesome slaughter is almost impossible to avoid. Before long, the poor joggers get stabbed, drown, explode, devoured, burned alive and plummet to their doom, and despite the 8-bit graphics, the artists manage to showcase a satisfying amount of blood and gore.
Meanwhile, the game keeps track of everything, including individual times for each level, average level time, total deaths, distance run, deaths per hazard (skewered by a stalactite is a personal favorite) and plenty of other stats. Then you have in-game achievements to unlock, an online leaderboard for comparing scores and Facebook and Twitter integration.
It's just good to know that some thought went into designing the game, instead of just ripping off the competition. On top of that, Grim Joggers is a blast to play. It's one thing to keep a single person alive, but 15 adds a whole new dynamic to the action.
We also love the variety. Each stage has a different theme, like the jungle, winter wonderland (complete with snowmen), a mine and the most extreme board, the battlefield, complete with missiles, soldiers brandishing bayonets and collectible dog tags. It's crazy.
All of this makes Grim Joggers one of the funniest, most over the top and cool games on the App Store. Download it right away, and no, virtual exercising doesn't count.
Requirements - Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
What's Hot: Amusing concept, lots of gore, cool 8-bit graphics, Facebook/Twitter support, leaderboards, persistent stat tracking.
What's Not: Despite the unique elements, it still plays like other running games.