Think before you leap in this tricky runner from Onkaworks.
Most 2D running games play the same, minus differences in graphics, power-ups and characters. Canyon Rush, from Onkaworks, is a lone exception. Yes, it's all about pushing forward against increasingly difficult odds while picking up gold coins along the way, but a unique hook sets it apart from the rest, a neat feature that'll both delight and perhaps infuriate you. In a good way, of course.
The hook we speak of is the separation of the screen into three planes: high, medium and low, where swiping up and down instructs the young boy to move to those respective platforms; meanwhile, swiping to the right makes him jump. Why is this interesting? Well, for starters, it forces you to think in a way previously unseen in a running game, particularly one taking place in two dimensions, but therein lies the catch. Treating Canyon Rush like a 2D game will definitely get you killed. Instead, you must think within a 3D space.
Don't worry, the concept probably seems foreign to just about everyone at first. Basically, you cannot expect the character (as he approaches a high ledge) to automatically fall onto the medium ledge, as one normally would in a 2D game. That said, you must swipe down to reach that platform, then respond in kind, depending on how the scenery changes. Screw up, and the kid plummets off a cliff; the developers also throw snakes and scorpions in his way.
Those aforementioned coins, meanwhile, prove useful in buying items, like a life-saving blue bird, an antidote that protects against enemies and a club that comes in handy for whacking critters. Thing is, and the same holds true with many freemium games, it takes a long time to amass enough virtual loot to, let's say, pick up the 5,000-coin bird; you can buy coins with real money. Thankfully, you don't need those items to enjoy Canyon Rush. Besides, the focus should be on the leaderboards, where you'll scratch your head wondering how so-and-so managed to travel 2,700 meters.
On the downside, the game currently doesn't work on the new iPad, and perhaps other models as well. There's also no full-screen version, so you'll need to magnify the image 2X. Thankfully, the developers are currently investigating that first issue.
With this in mind, and if you have an iPhone, Canyon Rush comes recommended. Is it the most visually arresting, feature packed runner on the App Store? No, but it's one of the few that pushes the popular sub-genre forward. That's fine by us.
Review code provided by Onkaworks.
What's Hot: Cool 2D game with a 3D twist, free-to-play, leaderboards.
What's Not: Crashes on iPad.