Spreading harmony in the Middle East with Run for Peace

Run for Peace is a new iOS game from the Beirut-based Game Cooks. The title is available in both iPhone and HD iPad versions, and at the time of writing it is a free download thanks to a partnership with AppGratis. Its normal price is $1.99, with 5% of proceeds being donated to UNESCO.

Run for Peace is a one-button “endless running” game. (Actually, to call it “endless” isn’t quite accurate, as there is a theoretical “end” to the game, it’s just very difficult to get to.) The player is cast in the role of Salim, a young Saudi man who has been dreaming about peace in the Middle East since he was three years old. He decides to set off on a journey to spread peace and harmony through the region, running as far as he can without meeting an unfortunate demise from the many obstacles that litter his path. The player guides him by simply tapping the screen to make him jump and tapping again to make him “double jump” while in the air. In this way, Salim can avoid ground and air-based obstacles, collect coins and acquire various special items to assist him on his journey.

As the player earns coins through play (or acquires them via in-app purchase) it becomes possible to equip Salim with different outfits as well as purchase various powerups such as coin magnets and “revive” items that allow mistakes to be made. Most items are relatively expensive, meaning players will have to play the game a great deal to be able to afford everything — or spend some money on in-app purchases. There is also some form of “star-based” progression system implemented, but unfortunately the game doesn’t appear to explain what the criteria for earning stars are. It looks similar to the objective-based system seen in titles like Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride and Activision’s Skylanders Cloud Patrol, but doesn’t make its objectives explicit anywhere. Users would benefit from a clear explanation of what this “star rating” means and what benefits it offers them — not only will it make the game easier to understand, but it will also encourage user retention as players will have a better idea of what they are aiming for.

Social features for the game are focused entirely on Game Center, though the game’s main menu also links to Game Cooks’ Facebook and Twitter pages for information on the game and the team’s other projects. Game Center features include both leaderboards and achievements — leaderboards track the furthest distance a player has successfully managed to run, while the achievements vary from reaching specific milestones to completing specific challenges or reaching certain distances while wearing a specific costume.

Run for Peace is a simple, solid game with an admirable message, though the relatively unknown name of the developer threatens to relegate the game to obscurity without some additional promotion. This would be a great shame because while it isn’t the most imaginative or best game on iOS, it’s pleasing to see developers trying to do good and spread awareness with their work. Peace in the Middle East is clearly a subject that is close to the hearts of the team at Game Cooks, and making a game about it is a good way to convey this to a modern worldwide audience.

Run for Peace does not yet appear to be ranked on any App Store leaderboards. Check back shortly to follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.