Ancient Egyptian myths are a common source for creative types to mine ideas. Escape from Doom is a running game that capitalizes on a setting so close to the Great Pyramids of Giza that you can almost smell the mummies and they can smell you. Oh, and they're hungry for man flesh.
The first time you tap open Escape from Doom, you're thrust right into the game. You're given a couple of short and ominous sentences to set the scene and tone then tossed into the tutorial.
There are three ways to control your character that is running headlong into a sandstorm filled with the waking Egyptian undead. You can have on screen controls, area based controls, or utilize the internal gyroscope. You can strafe left or right and, if you have a gun, shoot straight ahead. The area based controls were the most user friendly. Just tap left or right to strafe and the center to shoot the undead in the head.
The design of the game is well balanced. It eschews the cartoony for the gritty and utilizing the 1st person perspective in a horror themed running game is always a good choice. It inserts the player farther into the world and gives them a chance for some thrills and chills. The levels have the random generated feel about them, but after a few good runs, you'll start to get the hang of the controls and progress a bit farther to other areas.
The bonus and upgrade systems are pretty standard. You can snag a pair of goggles to help you see further into the sandstorm or get a new holster to dual wield some pistols. As you trample desperately through the level, you come across urns which you can run over and smash to get keys which then can be used to open up chests for more goodies to help you make it through your bandaged wrapped nightmare.
Escape from Doom at first seems like some developers took Temple Run and changed the perspective and what is chasing you. In fact, it is a well honed and harrowing sprint through a creepy nightmare. It doesn't strike the tone of silliness and doesn't shy away from some scares. Each time you get hit by a mummy, theres a splash of red and if one of them gets a hold on you, you're treated to some lovingly animated teeth gnashing. It feels tense every time you go sprinting out of that Egyptian ruin.
The graphics of Escape from Doom are very well rendered. Everything is smooth and clear and the animations of the mummies are quite well done. You can even get close enough to see those pointed teeth searching out your flesh to eat. And ever in the distance are the Great Pyramids of Giza standing tall and providing you with a bit of desperate hope.
What would make Escape from Doom better? Well, I would have liked to see some level choice. An endless running game is fine and has replay ability on its side. But, I would have really enjoyed a bit of a story twisted in between a few different levels that could be unlocked when you've made it to a certain distance in a previous level. Each level could remain endless, but it would provide more tangible goals than the ones provided. You're unlocking the next level rather than simply a high score.
One note you should be aware of, if you're looking to play this on anything older than an iPhone 5, you'll probably see a serious dip in frame rate.
Overall, Escape from Doom is a lot of fun and a perfect compliment to your gaming regime this October. It provides you with some classic horror fun that I haven't seen in a running game in ages. It is well polished title that would be welcome to anyone looking to have their nerves jilted and fingers pleased.