Running With A Purpose
Once Upon a Runner – Previewed
By Julie Morley
Many runners out there are simply designed with a scoring system and bonuses included on the level in order to drag out the clock as much as possible so the player can bring up their score. It’s all competitively based and the levels are seemingly endless. But what if you were running with a purpose? What if each level revealed a story of some sort that only reaching a certain score or particular point of the level could you actually progress?
In Once Upon a Runner, we have the gameplay of your typical runner combined with an elaborate and interesting storyline to keep the player interested. For once, it’s not about topping leaderboards and gaining a high score. It’s the desire to know what is happening next that drives the player.
In a mysterious fairy tale world only one girl wields the power that defeats the powers that await.
Ella is a strange but extraordinary fire mage that has fallen through a portal, transporting to a world completely driven by fairy tales and fables. She must fight her way through each story and avoid the villains to make it back home. With her fire shooting ability and the help of a mysterious companion (and, of course, you!), she’ll be able to get away from the Big Bad Wolf or a cannibalistic witch.
Once Upon a Runner is the baby of SaltyPepper Games, and their 2D sidescrolling runner with a story to tell available on Android, iOS, and the Roku. The world surrounding this game is unique and nothing like we have seen before. Normally, fairy tale games are usually put together in a much lighter manner but the entirety of Once Upon a Runner has dark elements to it.
By giving such an in depth story, players are should feel a different motivation to get through the level for reasons other than the score. They’ll want to know what’s going to happen next to Ella. In six different levels, players are to join Ella on her journey out of the world of fairy tales and when each level is completed, they’re in a surprise. Instead of creating cutscenes in-between each level, additional story content is provided in comics without dialogue. By removing any speaking or sound effects from the comic, it further leaves everything to the interpretation (and immersion) of the player.
Gameplay is relatively simple, as expected from a game in this genre. However, Ella can shoot fireballs at enemies and to destroy obstacles but there is a catch; some fireballs need time to refresh. Players can also customize Ella’s appearance with up to 9 different outfits and can look forward to upgrades left and right in each level. With each level’s advancement, not only do you get more story content but items to make your gameplay easier.
Adaptable gameplay combined with an in depth story like this seems like it will successfully keep players invested and playing Once Upon a Runner on the go.
SaltyPepper Games is seeking funding through Kickstarter for $5,000 for Once Upon a Runner, concluding May 27th.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/julie.jpg” ]Julie Morley is a freelance writer and comic artist from Spring, Texas. She attended the Academy of Art University for two years, studying Animation and Illustration. Whilst here, she learned about writing comic scripts, storyboards, and general storytelling. Since leaving college, she has been working on personal comic projects, stories, and illustrations. She aspires to release a self published comic within two years. For the majority of her life, she has been playing console games, typically being third-person shooters and sandboxes. Her favorite game of existence is Dark Cloud II (Dark Chronicle) and her favorite Indie game is Gone Home.[/author]