REVIEW: BATMAN AND THE FLASH – HERO RUN / PLATFORM: APP FOR ANDROID / PUBLISHER: GREE, INC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Poor Flash. If there was one DC Universe-based superhero you’d think a perfect candidate for his own endless runner type game, it’s the scarlet speedster. Hot on the heels of Temple Run, Minion Rush and countless other rip-offs/tie-ins of the format (Bear Grylls even has his own app), the game is finally here. Will Flash finally get to show these treacle-toed impostors how it’s done? Well, actually, no.
Poor Flash doesn’t even get top billing in his own game – he shares the title with Batman, his partner in crime (fighting) in Hero Run. Never mind that running is Flash’s entire gig and that the pair aren’t even nearly comparable in terms of ability (Superman would have made more sense) – Batman and Flash run endlessly through the streets of Gotham and Gorilla City, respectively, neither breaking a sweat. They’ve added speed lines to Flash’s design, but the pair seem to run at exactly the same speed (Batman faster, if you choose to level that character up first – as we all will), with negligible difference in gameplay. Not content with hogging the limelight in Superman’s own Man of Steel sequel, the Bat has done exactly the same here. It’s the app equivalent of the legion of Frank Miller imitators having Batman beat up Superman in almost every single comic book in which they appear together.
And even then, Batman isn’t very fast. Hero Run is one of the slowest games of the subgenre I’ve played, feeling sluggish and unresponsive from the start of the run to its end (never far apart). There’s something very depressing about watching the Dark Knight run face-first into a parked truck, or the Flash struggle to avoid an oncoming boulder. Rarely have I felt so un-heroic playing a video game as I saw Batman and the Flash trip and land face first on the pavement; or worse, stumble backwards and land flat on their asses. Still, Hero Run is good for a couple of hours’ entertainment. Running head-on (like a bat-tering ram, geddit) into your foes sends the poor goons flying out of your way, while there are gadgets, power-ups and occasional boss battles (the Joker and Gorilla Grodd) to enliven the experience. Extra costumes and characters (Joker, Catwoman and Grodd) are unlockable, but they’re unaffordable, unless you fancy playing the same two levels over and over and over again until you earn the requisite in-game currency. Of course, you can always buy them outright, with your own real-world money. You know what they say, about a fool and his money.
A free download available now from the app store, Batman and The Flash: Hero Run is a competent if repetitive time-killer. It’s not among the World’s Finest, but comic book fans should appreciate the (bare minimum of) effort, at least.