Hidden Runaway Review
Runaway: A Road Adventure, developed by Pendulo Studios, was a point-and-click romp that came out in 2001 and was very successful in Europe. 11 years later, BulkyPix brings us a revamped, hidden object-styled retelling of the story in the new game, Hidden Runaway. Will you be able to find all of the items hiding in plain sight? Or will you just find that it's a waste of your time?
I was looking forward to this game for a while. After seeing the screenshots, watching the trailer, and reading up on the original game, I was hoping that it would land in my list of favorite iOS games. But once I actually loaded the thing up, the disappointment set in and never let go. I couldn't believe it! Here was a game with a great blend of 2D/3D art and an interesting story, but with some of the most boring gameplay to accompany it. What was originally a point-and-click adventure had become a Hidden Object Game! I understand that they were going for the casual market, but the game suffers because of it. Having me look for a handful of grenades in a bathroom is boring and only serves to extinguish any interest I had in advancing the story and playing more.
Hidden Runaway follows the currently shaky relationship between Brian and Gina while they talk to a movie producer about their adventures 10 years ago in Runaway: A Road Adventure. As they recount their tale, you witness how they fell in love in the first place and are treated to a lot of smooth cut-scenes that expand on the narrative. It turns out that Brian met Gina when he accidentally hit her with his car after she had just witnessed the mafia kill her dad. Wow. That sounds pretty good, right? Then why wouldn't they just let me play through the story the way the original did instead of making me poke around hospitals for mannequin heads and wigs?!
As unfortunate as the decision was to make this a Hidden Object Game may be, at least the game's presentation is very attractive. So while you're bored out of your mind as you search for burgers and samurai swords in order to see what happens next, you'll at least be looking at a lot of detailed artwork. The scenes in which you look for objects oftentimes resemble a hoarder's haven and are littered with so much stuff, even in the backgrounds, that it can take a long time to complete your hunt.
Thankfully, there is a Hint button that puts a big red circle around one of the items on your list. Once it shows you an object and then you curse yourself for not being able to see the Winchester rifle sitting in plain sight on the bookshelf, you'll have to wait until it resets to use it again. For those of you who are impatient, it's totally a viable means of play to just wildly mash your finger on everything that looks slightly conspicuous on the screen. Just be warned that mercilessly tapping rapidly will prompt the game to virtually crack your screen. Spoil sports.
Hidden Runaway features a few other casual mini-games too. There are some that task you with completing a picture, a Tower of Hanoi puzzle, and even a game of Around the World using soda cans instead of basketballs. These are welcome breaks from the excruciatingly boring object-finding sequences.
My disappointment knows no bounds with this release. I was hoping for another great adventure game with maybe only a few hidden object sequences, but I was wrong. And it's not as if I don't like Hidden Object games! I've played a bunch of the Big Fish ones and they were great because you were timed, they were creative, and the stakes were higher. Hidden Runaway's puzzles just felt tedious, like, "Oh, hey. Look for some screws. Just 'cause. And take all the time you need, bro. The story will still be here. Bet you'd like to know what happens, huh?" What a missed opportunity. Until they release a port of the original, this game's better off being hidden away in the far-off recesses of the App Store.