Take a bunch of superheroes. Take a very popular game genre. Mix both. The result should – logically – be one heck of a game, right? Well, in the case of Marvel Run Jump Smash, not really.
And that is in spite of having pretty much everything going for it. At the end of the day, it is all about chasing villains in the guise of your favorite super hero and the options here include the likes of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk. I mean, that sounds good, right, especially if you happen to be a superhero fan (the author certainly is one)? I mean, think Temple Run with a lot of superheroes who can take on any odds. Again, not really.
For, honestly, Marvel Run Jump Smash ends up being nothing more than a Jetpack Joyride clone with some token Avengers elements put into it. You start off by choosing a SHIELD agent – your options include Nick Fury and Maria Hill – and well, then, it is time to put on your shoes and chase Loki. As you run after the devilish Norse God, your path will be littered with coins, obstacles and enemies. Your task is to collect the first, dodge the second and whenever possible, bump off the third (when not possible, simply dodge them). As you run, you will see Super Hero Tokens appear in you route. Pick one up and you will take on the identity of the super hero it represents, along with his/her powers. So with Iron Man, you get the option to spend more time in the air, with Hulk you pretty much can thump even the tougher enemies, while Captain America has the ability to do some athletic jumps. There is no real set goal – this is very much an endless runner, and your task is to keep running, jumping, firing and smashing. Your coin collection gets you special abilities and also lets you unlock other super heroes.
All of which is fine, if a little routine, on paper. Where the game slips up is in terms of implementation. The 2D graphics which work in titles like Jetpack Joyride do not quite cut it when there are Avengers involved – those who have played Iron Man’s endless flyer game will in particular feel let down with the rather ordinary presentation of some of the most iconic heroes in comicdom. The super heroes themselves do not add too much to the game, beyond giving you an extra life (if you hero cops it, you continue running as a SHIELD agent), which is a trifle disappointing. We also would have liked gesture based controls rather than two on-screen buttons for movements and attack. And yes, the game works only with an Internet connection running in the background (which kind of rules out playing it when you are in the Metro or have a Wi-Fi only device and on the move).
The fact that you actually have to pay for all this (USD 0.99 or 1.49, depending on the platform of your choice), does not really do much to help. Yes, we love Temple Run and Jetpack Joyride. And we are huge fans of the Avengers. But unless you are absolutely fed up of Jetpack Joyride and want the same experience with different characters, we would advocate giving Marvel Run Jump Smash a miss. It is pretty much a missed opportunity.