It's no surprise that the release of the new Hunger Games movie comes with the release of a new endless runner game where players control Katniss as she runs through the Districts shooting, sliding, and leaping her way from danger. John Bedford explains why "Panem Run" is good, but not great - and makes a compelling argument for switching up the runner genre.
While this is every inch the traditional, classic endless runner that's built around jumping over obstacles, sliding under gaps, leaping over chasms and so on, it's a pretty solid affair for the most part. There are archery sections that have you flicking the screen towards a series of targets, but we've sorted of done this already in Temple Run: Brave. Still it breaks up the otherwise very safe gameplay nicely. You can also use materials you collect to improve your performance in these shooting sections, or enhance your character's core attributes. A turn-based, multiplayer component rounds off the game.
There are two ways of looking at the content in Hunger Games. Either it's more of the same that you love (upgrades, collectibles, leaping and ducking), or it's just too much of what you've already played to death already. Even though we're starting to slide into the latter camp, we have to admit that it's as solid a runner as any other you'll play, and it's pretty decent fan-service to the books and films to boot. Less forgivable though is the slow pace of the game, and the occasional technical hiccups that leave objects and scenery "popping in" further down the road.
An awful lot of new runners have hit the App Store over the last month or so, and it's hard not to view the arrival of Panem Run with a certain amount of jaded weariness. Still it's a solid enough - if rather slow and uninspiring - addition to the genre that will certainly please fans of the books and films.
Final rating: 3.0/5.