One-button platforming with Mega Run — Redford’s Adventure

Mega Run — Redford’s Adventure from Get Set Games is a new auto-running platformer for iOS devices. The game, available now as a free Universal download from the App Store, has performed extremely well recently, shooting to the No. 1 spot in the Free Apps, Free iPad Apps, Free Games and Free iPad Games this week.

Mega Run casts players in the role of the eponymous hero Redford, a small, bug-eyed red creature who is tasked with running through a variety of levels, collecting coins and avoiding monsters. Play control is kept simple for one-finger touchscreen play, as Redford runs automatically, with the player only requiring to tap the screen in order to make our hero jump.

Levels are of finite length and predefined layout rather than the game being a procedurally-generated “endless running” title. Several routes through each level as well as hidden collectible items and the ever-present “three star” rating system encourage the player to retry each level to best their last score. The game also features leaderboards via OpenFeint as well as Game Center achievements.

The game is free to play and allows players to acquire soft currency through normal play. These coins may be used to purchase powerups unlocked via the game’s leveling system. Hard currency, available via in-app purchase or through watching video adverts, allows players to unlock items before reaching the necessary level, and also to acquire “save stars,” which let the player recover from fatal errors during a level. These stars are occasionally awarded in small quantities on leveling up, but in order to acquire them in quantity the player will need to spend some money.

Mega Run’s popularity is doubtless due to its simple to understand but hard to master gameplay. There have been plenty of one-button platformers prior to this, but the combination of collectible items, multiple routes and unlockable powerups provides a surprising amount of depth to such a simple concept. The fact that the game runs very smoothly, features attractive cartoony graphics and an inoffensive (if rather repetitive) soundtrack builds a package that is fun and satisfying to play. Get Set Games clearly understands some of the core tenets of mobile gaming.

App Store reviewers have responded to the game with overwhelmingly positive comments, and few appear to be criticizing the free-to-play model. This is perhaps because almost all of the content in the game (save stars aside) can be acquired simply by playing it for long enough — this has the dual benefit of helping to retain users over time, and also allowing players who simply want to play for free to do so without feeling like they are being shepherded towards a paywall. Even then, users who wish to acquire hard currency without opening their wallets can do so simply by liking the game on Facebook, following it on Twitter and watching a few promotional videos.

Mega Run is a great example of mobile gaming done right. While it may not have quite the same depth as a full console or handheld game, it suits short play sections perfectly while having enough content to unlock to encourage people to continue playing over a long period. It is likely to monetize well among impatient players who want to unlock content early (or those who simply want to show the developer some monetary support) while remaining inherently fair for those who simply wish to play for free.

Mega Run is currently No. 1 in the Top Free Apps, Top Free iPad Apps, Top Free Games and Top Free iPad Games charts. It is also No. 73 in Top Grossing Apps, No. 85 in Top Grossing iPad Apps, No. 57 in Top Grossing Games and No. 53 in Top Grossing iPad Games. Follow its progress through the App Store charts with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.