Following the smash-hit success of Scribblenauts, Super Scribblenauts, and Scribbenauts Remix on the DS and iOS, developer 5th Cell has ambitious plans to outdo itself in 2012 by leaps and bounds, starting with its new kangaroo-themed game Run Roo Run.
5th Cell plans to release four games this year, starting with Run Roo Run on the iPhone and iPad, third-person shooter Hybrid for Xbox Live Arcade later this year, as well as two unnamed games. Run Roo Run was released yesterday in the App Store for $1.99, and comes with 420 levels in addition to ten free levels released weekly.
Run Roo Run follows a kangaroo mother named Roo as she chases after the zookeepers who kidnapped her joey. Roo runs automatically towards the right side of the screen, and the player taps the screen in order to jump. However, rather than having a procedurally generated map form as the player moves, Run Roo Run is a micro-platformer, as creative director Jeremiah Slaczka explained in an interview with Joystiq. ”That means every level, from start to finish, is just a single screen wide,” Slaczka said. “Typically, auto-runners don’t have levels, you just travel as far as you can until you die.”
Certainly because games on mobile platforms benefit from being bite-sized and easy to play within a constrained amount of time, Run Roo Run’s micro-mindset should make it easier to pick up and play than its auto-running cousin Canabalt, which starts over entirely each time the player starts it up. Run Roo Run also introduces gameplay twists like U-turn signs, gravity-bending magnets, and Roo-rocketing cannons with each new chapter.
Interested players can participate in extreme mode, which unlocks after the completion of a chapter and provides a more difficult experience. On the flip side, Run Roo Run also sports a microtransaction store where, for $1-5, players can buy in bulk items which put the game into slow motion or skip a level entirely.
“Players unlock the extreme levels of each chapter after beating the normal ones,” Slaczka explained, “but you can completely bypass the extreme levels and just focus on the normal levels if you want. I wanted to make sure both casual players and core gamers had content to enjoy.”
Outside of the App Store, Slaczka has good news and bad news for those anticipating the release of 5th Cell’s closely guarded secret, Hybrid.
“The game has been heavily refined since we gave the first hands-on at GDC last year,” Slaczka said. “All the same core concepts are there, but there’s a lot of new surprises we want to show off. We’ll be revealing a lot very soon actually.”
Unfortunately, the most accurate release date news Slaczka can part with is that it will absolutely be released in 2012. “Run Roo Run will be our first and Hybrid may or may not be our next, we’ll see” Slaczka said. “We may be using Source Engine,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean we adhere to Valve Time.”