Gameplay is incredibly basic in Running Fever. You'll choose from a small selection of track designs, with each having a different theme (some are traditional, while others might be set in the ice or desert) and a different setup of obstacles. You may need to jump over hurdles in one event while avoiding ice beams in the next that will freeze you where you stand. In each race, you'll compete against three other racers (most of which will likely be other real players) to be the first to finish three laps. Once the first person passes the finish line for the third time, a ten second timer begins to tick down, giving everyone else only moments to catch up and cross the finish line themselves.
Each race sees you using the arrow keys to move your paper-thin avatar around the track, with the space key allowing you to jump and keys like Z or X providing the use of power-ups that are purchased with coins. Some power-ups give you abilities that can be used an infinite number of times in a one, two or three day period, while others are single use items. Each power-up drains stamina, so you'll need to use potions (the aforementioned one time use items) to recover that stamina. Unfortunately, you can only use a single "potion" per race, which limits your ability to get ahead, even if you have plenty of coins in your virtual bank account to spend.
At the end of each race, you'll be able to see your total event time on the worldwide leaderboard. As you climb these leaderboards for each track, you'll have a chance to win real world prizes like Facebook Credits. Unfortunately, the same few names wound up on the top of each leaderboard we tried, which raises an eyebrow to say the least (that is, they've likely hacked the game or are otherwise cheating). So, since you're likely not going to win any real world prizes, the fun of the game itself is what really counts. Unfortunately, Running Fever is a bit hit or miss in that department.
As with other competitive games, there's a certain draw and excitement that comes from actually competing against (and hopefully beating) other real, living players, but the game's localization contains some odd English language issues and there are a few track designs that come with nothing in the way of tutorial prompts, forcing you to figure out the right combination of movements or button presses required to pass certain obstacles.
All told, Running Fever is a cute game with plenty of customization options (both in the power-ups you buy and in the clothing your avatar wears), but ultimately, the entire game is spent completing quests by going around in circles time and time again, with tickets (or energy) that runs out far too quickly to provide for lengthy gameplay sessions. It's possible that additional gameplay variety will be added to Running Fever in the future, but for now, you might want to wait before investing any serious time in the game.
Click here to try Running Fever on Facebook ---->
Have you tried Running Fever or any games like it on Facebook? What do you think of these sorts of games that require the use of the keyboard, rather than just the mouse? Sound off in the comments!