Run Fatty Run
Hmm...eat this donut, or get mauled by a tiger? Decisions, decisions.
True story: I first played Run Fatty Run at the gym between sets. The game caught my eye, and after waiting forever for the app to download to the iPhone 4S over 4G, used it as motivation to keep lifting. Why? Because I don't want to gain weight and get mauled by a tiger, that's why.
Therein lies the premise behind this weird little running game. Its star, Bert, is an obese dude that doesn't know the meaning of the word "exercise". Luckily for him, the government instituted a new program to help (more like force) its citizens to lose weight. The powers that be unleash a tiger upon the masses and let nature take its course. Run for their lives, or become a jungle cat's dinner.
This is where you come in. The goal is to save Bert from this grim fate by avoiding the tiger at all costs. To that end, the game plays similar to must running titles on the App Store, except the developers at Disparity Games broke the levels into bite-sized chunks. They had to, since the controls require you to tap like mad to build up speed, ultimately turning Run Fatty Run into some cruel Mario Party mini-game where you wind up with a sore finger from constant screen mashing.
That said, there's a slight bit a complexity to the experience. Tapping high, medium or low will change Bert's positioning, and you're able to swipe to the right to help him smash through breakable objects, while swiping down instructs him to roll down hills (swipe up to regain his footing). You must also avoid food at all costs, as Bert is drawn to it, thus slowing his momentum.
It's not a bad game, really. If anything, it's better in short bursts, where you're able to bang out a couple levels while at work or, in my case, being a gym rat. I also like how the developers list calorie counts for the virtual grub, as well as the Bert's reflection displayed in windows as he runs by; nice touch.
At the same time, the constant tapping grows old fast, and is especially frustrating on the tougher boards, where it seems like no amount of finger power can save my rotund friend from getting ripped to shreds. There's an easy mode, but that's for lazy people.
Finally, I wish the developers had done more to educate players on health and fitness. It seems like the entire emphasis was put on Bert being fat and how apparently funny his situation is. There should be eating tips, exercises and other things that would cement this game's legitimacy for being a message to the public. Without this valuable component, it comes off like a gag, and perhaps a bit insensitive to larger folks.
On that note, Run Fatty Run is a fun distraction and a somewhat decent motivator for people with a few pounds to lose, but it does little to advance the running sub genre, or hang with the best players in the game, for that matter. Still, it's a huge guy running from a tiger. Make of that what you will.
What's Hot: Whacky premise, watching people get dragged away, smashing through obstacles, calorie counts for food.
What's Not: There's little room for casual finger tapping, more could have been done to educate the public.