Love 'em or hate 'em, endless runners are a really popular game type on iOS, Android and Windows Phone and there's no sign of them going away anytime soon. While they all share the endless part of the title there are loads of different types of runners - vertical, horizontal, 2D, 3D, isometric, the list of subtle changes goes on and this huge variety means there's pretty much something to suit any preference. If you've already played the games on the list check out the alternative suggestions below each game!
Eurogamer credit Canabalt as the game that "single-handedly invented the smartphone-friendly single-button running genre" and being the first mobile runner that I played I'll always have a bit of a soft spot for it. With no on-screen controls and a minimalist style it's incredibly easy to dive right in and have a quick go, while there's also enough there to keep you coming back again and again to perfect your run. A classic that all fans of the genre should play.
Liked this? Check out Robot Unicorn Attack by Adult Swim
Rayman Jungle Run
While this doesn't fall into the endless category Jungle Run is still one of the best side-scrolling runners about and deserves including in this list. Again it's easy to pick up and play but it has an almost puzzle-like quality as you jump and punch through each level attempting to collect the 'lums'. I've found as you get better at any runner you can end up having to play for up to an hour to even place on a leaderboard, the individual levels in Rayman Jungle Run mean that's not a problem here, much more suited for short plays when you don't want to lose progress or have to worry about the game saving your place. It's also gorgeous to look at and the music is fantastic, I still find myself humming it even if I haven't played the game in a few days.
Liked this? Check out Soul Grinder by Zombiesaurus Games
Armor Games' Knightmare Tower changes things up by having you move up the screen attacking enemies to propel yourself higher! There's also some RPG elements that give moving ever upward more of a sense of purpose. Again, this looks fantastic and with over 50 enemies, a few legendary monsters, rideable rockets and an amazing soundtrack you'll find yourself entertained for hours.
Liked this? Check out Monster GO! by Game Troopers
Published by Chillingo, Dead Ahead is proof that you can care about the characters in an endless runner (or driver in this case). They are badass and so is the game, with a many different things to consider when playing. It's a bit hectic to start but soon becomes really enjoyable as you master driving, shooting behind you and avoid the stuff in front of you.
Liked this? Check out Robot Warlords by Iglu Media
Halfbrick's amazing Jetpack Joyride is all game, you get in, run and jetpack your way through completing challenges, unlocking powerups and enjoying some lovely bonuses at the end of your run. It's great and there's not much I can say other than play it now if you haven't already, and thank me later!
Liked this? Check out Jump'N'Shoot Attack by FreakZone Games
No list would be completed without a plug for our upcoming game, Graffiti Grinder, a runner/platformer for rebellious hearts who ain't afraid to get colourful!
"Are you a teenage rebel with the wind in your hair, anxious to leave your anarchistic mark on the world? I suggest therapy. But if that doesn't seem like a fun way to spend your afternoons, then perhaps Graffiti Grinder is more your style. You problem-child."
Graffiti Grinder is coming soon to iOS, Android and Windows Phone. If you're interested in reviewing feel free to drop me an email at emma @ troll-inc.com, or enter your email here to get notified when the game is released!