Are you ready for another movie-based video game? Well, it doesn't matter, because Despicable Me: Minion Rush has already sped its way into the App Store. I never know what to make with these titles. NES games like Jaws and Total Recall set the precedent early on that the quality of the movie did not have to match up with the quality of the game. And since then, there's definitely been a stigma attached between games and movies (especially when it's going the other way). So what to make of a Despicable Me endless runner? On paper, it's not something I was getting too enthused about.
But of course, that's just on paper. After booting up and playing this game for a little bit, I can already say that Despicable Me: Minion Rush is having more fun with this genre than any title I've seen in the App Store recently. The idea being that you will also have fun playing it. I was certainly surprised to find myself reacting the way I was.
After you first start it up, you'll recognize the familiar set up. Despicable Me, at its core, is still an endless runner game. But it's also clear from the opening animated sequence that some of the budget from Universal Pictures' animated smash hit was siphoned off into this game. The opening sets up that you will be taking control of a minion in a quest to bring home the Minion of the Year prize.
In order to cross that finish line, you will have to help him along the way with a series of gameplay elements that you've come to expect and know already from all the other endless running games out there that you've played: left and right swipes, mixed in with jumps, leans, ducks, and all other manner of dodging you can think of.
After a few minutes of playing, I figured I had already seen all the game had to offer. But then I noticed something peculiar. While running along, my little minion all of a sudden looked back over his shoulder. While not being anything spectacular in and of itself, I found this common act of caution to be a wonderful little piece of detail. And it turned out that it was the first of many little animated flourishes, like the 'ol video game character flying at the screen trick, that help add depth and complexity to a genre that's grown a bit stale.
I was particularly impressed when the camera all off a sudden changed perspective and forced you to recalibrate how you were going to swipe your way out of trouble. This was a really cool transition that not only looked great and came as a surprise, but also played well and handled smoothly enough where I didn't die right away.
While running along in the game, you will have to collect bananas as you go. This tropical currency will let you unlock new character costumes and power-ups that will help boost your performance. Unlike the rest of the game, all of this is pretty standard fare.
Despicable Me: Minion Rush proves that, if handled the right way, there's still some life left in the endless runner genre. I recommend giving it a try. You will be surprised by the depth and detail that are packed into this fun little package. It's certainly earned its place among the rarefied company of a movie game that actually works.