Have you ever had that nightmare of being constantly chased by something? There's no stopping it, your legs feel like lead, but the only thing to do is keep running? Where a Terminator-Xenomorph Hybrid chases you endlessly through downtown Connecticut with a chainsaw?
Well regardless, there's a whole genre of games dedicated to such an experience- although they're usually more fun and less terrifying. I'm of course talking about the Endless Runner genre. They've been cloned billions of times, with near-identical mechanics.
Sometimes, however, even a clone can stand out. Here are four Endless Runners that set themselves apart from the crowd.
Defining the Genre
First, let me properly identify and define what an Endless Runner game actually is. Simply put, you run endlessly.
Haha. In all seriousness, I would define it as a game that has the player running away from the screen, usually away from some arbitrary danger, down three different "lanes". The player can swipe left or right to switch lanes, or up and down to either jump over or duck under randomly spawned obstacles that block the path.
Many of these games include power-ups and unlockable characters to play as, and some even include randomized reward packs that are basically like gambling in online poker, just with better odds. These features are not mandatory and certainly not a requirement to get onto this list. Without further ado, here are the four Endless Runner games I've chosen!
Tag with Ryan
This is a game that is designed and meant for little kids. I can’t, in good faith, recommend this one to you if you’re older than the age of six.
Tag with Ryan is almost a perfect example of what an Endless Runner game is, though.
You play as Ryan, a little kid from a YouTube channel I have admittedly never watched, who’s cartoon-superhero avatar is being chased in a game of tag by an anthropomorphic panda with headphones. If you knock into objects, you get caught, and are tagged as “it”. You can unlock new skins through playing, and there really isn’t much more to it than that.
Great for kids, nauseous for adults. You’ve been warned.
Ah, Temple Run. One of the oldest Endless Runners on the market.
Developed by Imangi Studios, you play a character from a selection of explorers as you escape ancient ruins with treasure, hoping to escape the dangerous traps, falls, or Demon Monkeys.
This Endless Runner has been so popular, that is has developed into its own franchise. Aside from its sequels, Temple Run 1 and 2, there is Temple Run: Brave, Temple Run: Oz, and Temple Run: Treasure Hunters (which is actually a match-three game).
I'd recommend any of these, but that might just be the nostalgia talking. I guess you'll just have to check them out for yourself to find out the truth.
Bendy in Nightmare Run
Whew, if there is anything to say about this game, it’s that it's gorgeous.
Bendy in Nightmare Run is actually based off a horror game for the PC called Bendy and the Ink Machine. In it, you play as Henry, returning to his old animation studio run by his friend Joey Drew, only to discover that it has turned into a nightmare world of ink and all the characters he helped create.
Both Bendy and the Ink Machine and Bendy in Nightmare Run harken back to the old days of animation, and I mean old. It’s most easily compared to Bettie Boop, Felix the Cat, or Mickie Mouse from his Steamboat Willie days.
If you’re looking for an endless runner with a LOT of character and style, then I recommend Bendy in Nightmare Run.
Why did the chicken cross the road? You tell me after you've poured hours into Crossy Road that is.
The closest comparison I can make is to that old arcade game Frogger. In Crossy Road, you play as a multitude of hopping, voxel, farm-animals determined to cross the street at any and all costs.
This deceptively simple game will have you engrossed in this seemingly easy task as you get squished, smushed, smashed, run over, exploded, and drowned. Over. And over. Again. It also doesn’t hurt that this game is incredibly adorable, with great, goofy sound effects to make light of your incredibly grisly demise.
I should clarify that this game doesn't exactly match my definition above. There is no jumping or ducking along the way, and there are many lanes to go down, with obstacles coming from horizontal directions. The danger is all around you. I think it would have been a disservice, however, to have left this game off the list.