Kristie is a rock-musician — it would seem — whom has a rather unfortunate predilection for sleeping in before her performances, possibly as a result of wild partying the night before. Thankfully this particular pink-haired musician is also a bona-fide master of advanced parkour techniques, meaning that — rather than wading through lengthy traffic-jams — she can instead reach her concerts on time by leaping from roof top to roof top. Thus goes the premise to Run and Rock-it Kristie (out now, free), a challenging handcrafted platforming experience — with auto-scrolling properties — that in some ways feels a lot like classical Sonic the Hedgehog games.
Armen Barsegyan has kept the controls of his game rather simple — despite the otherwise challenging difficulty — by only giving players a jump button on the bottom left-hand side, and an attack button on the other end (specifically: a guitar smash). Although there isn’t a button for it, Kristie can additionally slide safely down any flat-wall that she comes into contact with (during which time the jump button will instruct her to kick off). Lastly, some of Run and Rock-it’s obstacles will simply knock Kristie down a level — which may or may not be fatal in the process — whereas others will instantly end her progress (and are usually covered in spikes of some sort).
Now while these ideas might initially sound simple enough — and by themselves they admittedly are — what truly makes Run and Rock-it a challenge would be the game’s multiple pathways, which are then furthermore coupled with musical notes strewn about. While many mobile-games have previously featured three-star grading systems, often based around collecting three stars scattered about each course, things work a bit differently for Kristie. Each small note she grabs is worth 1 point — with the larger ones being worth 20 — and her star-rating is decided by her final score: with one star for just finishing a level, two stars for having at least 50 points, and three stars for 100 points.
At this point we’ve finally come back to why I initially compared Run and Rock-it’s levels to stages from the earlier Sonic the Hedgehog games, and this would be because — much like the efforts of Yuji Naka — there’s multiple pathways in each course offered. Simply avoiding each obstacle you see — either via jumping, or guitar smacking — will generally get you to a level’s end-point easily enough, and this will furthermore most often result in your receiving a one-star rating as well. Whereas, for those whom fearlessly explore their environment, Rock-it’s less obvious paths (often found via risky actions) will enable players to obtain far higher scores than a safer course would permit.
Of course, this comparison is then given extra weight by the fact that Kristie is often running full out — sometimes even straight up the sides of walls — while rapidly bouncing about from obstacle to obstacle. This feeling is probably further fueled by how the game’s streamlined controls prohibit you from ever slowing down (even when doing so would otherwise prove useful). That said — rather than Sonic the Hedgehog — I must admit that the artwork of Run and Rock-it Kristie actually reminded me of Fliptus’s Beat Bop: Pop Star Clicker (our review), but — ultimately — that matter is neither here nor there.
Anyways — getting back to topic — this level of optional-depth is rather important, seeing as how it is only via striving to perfect each stage — which also makes Kristie to give a better performance afterwards — may well be the only way to get your money’s worth. Although our review may have initially have said this game was being offered for free, that’s not exactly true (but thankfully this has nothing do with exploitative IAPs at all). What actually happens here is that you get Run and Rock-it Kristie’s first 10 levels for absolutely free, and are then expected to pay $2.99 to permanently unlock the rest (which also removes the in-game banner-ads, and furthermore includes all future level-packs).
I heavily advise those playing through the demo to determine whether or not they enjoy fully mastering the app’s first ten stages, rather than merely running straight through them, as the game doesn’t really have enough content to justify it’s price tag otherwise. There’s no endless mode here to keep you coming back forever, and only thirty levels — all of which are rather short (even if they are all densely packed with secrets to find) — which means many of you could potentially finish this adventure in just a single night. That said, I personally found much enjoyment within Run and Rock-it Kristie — as I strove to perfect my path through each of the game’s various levels — and eagerly await the release of future parkour-filled level-packs.
Armen Barsegyan’s Run and Rock-it Kristie — much in the same vein as classical Sonic the Hedgehog titles — contains thirty levels filled with multiple pathways to master, and getting a 3-star rating on every level is sure to keep you busy. Although the highly replayable nature of each level is one of the game’s strong suits, it is — considering the game’s $2.99 full-unlock price — currently one of Run and Rock-it Kristie’s greatest weaknesses as well. Those whom merely want to run through each stage as quickly as possible — without tracking down all of the hidden musical notes — will probably finish this in a single night, and not get their money’s worth as a result.