Endless runner games are a dime a dozen in the App Store. Actually, they're less than that, because most of them are offered free. It takes something really special for an endless runner to break away from the pack and stand on its own. Does Battle Rush, the newest title from Esquilax Games, have what it takes to run ahead of the crowd? Or does it run out of steam near the finish?

Unless you're very new to mobile gaming, you've probably played your fair share of endless runners. If not, then believe me when I say that they're all pretty similar and just task you with helping a character make it through an obstacle course of sorts while running infinitely. All the running is automatic, so you only have to steer the character away from danger. The goal is to get the longest distance possible during a run. And, if you're playing against friends online, you also compete for bragging rights.

In Battle Rush, the formula is mixed up a bit by adding a player vs. player element. You can find opponents to fight on your runs, collecting red bugs in order to build your attack meter and then hitting red boxes with targets on them to actually strike at the other runner. The damage dealt will be proportionate to the amount you have filled in the attack meter, so aim to fill it up whenever you can.

Of course, the other guy will be trying to do the same, so the challenge is in timing your attacks just right and deciding whether or not to collect red bugs to build up your strength or green bugs to refill your health bar.

There are items littered around the tracks that can help you in your quest to triumph over everyone else. Magnets allows bugs to magically be drawn to you, multipliers boost the rate at which you collect bugs, shields absorb damage dealt and a ghost can turn you incorporeal, able to run through any obstacle.

If you need an extra boost in battle, you can always spend golden bugs (the in-game currency), in order to buy perks before a match. You can purchase a full attack meter, a bug that revives you once, a magnet and a counterattack. These should give you the edge in battle and you can get as few or as many perks as you want.

Should you lose three times, you'll run out of hearts and won't be able to battle again until you've regenerated at least one heart after a recharge period. That's totally fine, because then you can go into Collect Mode and through the game while gathering up golden bugs to help you out in Battle Mode.

The running itself is pretty simple. You'll swipe left, right and up in order to avoid objects in the field and even jump over them. The day and night cycle is a welcome feature that keeps the background from getting dull, even though the track itself sort of lacks any excitement. But perhaps the strangest graphical feature would be your runner. You can pick from three creatures, with Grumpy available at the outset. For some reason, these guys are 2D in a 3D world and resemble warped versions of the forest spirit Totoro, from My Neighbor Totoro. It's just strange to see them bounding around, all flat against a 3D environment.

Overall, Battle Rush is a passable endless runner. It may not be the most thrilling, but some players might find themselves caught up in moving up the leaderboards and defeating every stranger they challenge in Battle Mode.

If you've got nothing better to do and want to check out a decent time-waster, definitely download Battle Rush. It won't blow your mind, but it's free and provides enough of a distraction that you can pass the time while the next great endless runner is being developed. Which should be within the next five minutes.


App Store Link: Battle Rush for iPhone & iPad | By Esquilax Games | Price: Free | Version: 1.01 | 23.5 MB | Rating: 9+

6.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating