- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A distraught kangaroo in search of her kidnapped baby travels across Australia in Run Roo Run (5th Cell, rated 4+, $1.99), a new side-scrolling adventure for Apple’s magical tablet.

Although it sounds more like a National Geographic special, this is a pure platforming puzzling pleasure composed of more than 400 bite-size levels for players to help guide their pint-size friend across the outback.

Created by the company responsible for the handheld classic Scribblenauts, the cartoony action requires a player to tap on the screen at the proper time to move and propel a kangaroo (that looks more like a multicolored bush rat) through a gantlet of dangerous obstacles.

Each puzzle is contained on a single screen in a very cartoony, uncluttered landscape. The game is broken out into 20 chapters (composed of 15 levels each) with 10 free levels automatically added weekly.

A challenge might include simply hopping over some water or avoiding jagged rocks. That type of indoctrination gradually adds new dangers in subsequent chapters and is mandatory to understand the upcoming variety of obstacle courses.

As locales get more complicated, the player can expect to start tapping and double-tapping to bounce off springboards, ride moving clouds, float and rise over fans, swing on tires, avoid spiked traps and even get shot out of a cannon. Power-ups can slow time or allow the kangaroo to board a bus and hop across the screen uninjured.

The player receives gold, silver and bronze stars, depending on how quickly an area is conquered.

Six extreme levels are unlocked after each chapter is completed, and they will really test a player’s strategy and timing skills in much more elaborate, mazelike settings.

Under what’s missing, besides a multiplayer element, I could see some obvious educational moments that easily could have been incorporated into the game. The kangaroo must move from Perth to Sidney. So how about some background on each city or its indigenous creatures? How about some information on kangaroos or even a video or slide show of the real creatures in action?

Despite the missing geography and biology lessons, Run Roo Run combines easy-to-digest play sessions, quick saves and enough of a mix of noggin-scratching conundrums to provide a colorful and cheap adventure for all ages.

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