Rock Runners is a level-based action platformer that sees you guiding a character through hazardous mine shafts via some carefully timed taps on the screen. Your little miner will run automatically from the left to the right side of the screen, and it will be up to you to tap or tap and hold on the screen to send your character flying, hopefully avoiding obstacles and collecting gemstones along the way.
You'll run into a variety of obstacles in each stage, from falling rocks and purple toxic goo to moving enemies and drills that emerge from the ground. While many of these items can be avoided by simply tapping to jump over them, other items like moving or stationary grappling hooks will allow you to cross massive chasms or climb higher in the mine than you would be able to do on your own.
For each gemstone you collect, you'll fill the Boost bar at the top of the screen. Once full, your character will run faster, which obviously allows you to complete levels faster, but also makes obstacles a bit harder to avoid. Each stage is timed, and comes packed with three overall quests that must be completed before you'll earn the three-star rating for the stage. You can replay levels as often as you'd like in order to earn more stars or just improve your fastest time, and you can purchase items like gem multiipliers, extra Boost power and more using the gemstones that you earn while playing.
Thankfully, gems are fairly easy to earn without throwing down any real money, and the levels themselves don't become as repetitive as in some similar games, since each stage is different than the last in its basic design. While some of these stages are pretty challenging to complete within the encouraged time limit, you don't have to worry about running into brick walls, as any "dead-end" comes with a portal that will send you back a few feet to try again. Sure, this adds extra time to the clock, but you won't lose your overall progress.
This isn't to say that you can't fail levels, however, as hitting items like toxic goo or actual enemies will take hearts away from your character. When all of the hearts are gone, you'll need to start the level over from scratch, but since many levels can be completed in around 60 seconds, this "retry" process never seems unfair.
Ultimately, Rock Runners is an incredibly entertaining game. It's challenging, but never too difficult, and the graphics run smoothly even with plenty of animations on the screen at once. Rock Runners is definitely one to keep your eye on, and eager gamers everywhere can download the game for $0.99 starting next week.
Are you excited to try Rock Runners on iOS? Sound off in the comments!