iOS App-Aholics Anonymous: [Verticus]

App Name: Verticus
Developer: Moonshark
Launch Date: 11-8-12
Price: $1.99
App-Aholic Rating: 2/5
Watch it Here: Official Game Trailer

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The endless runner has officially become a “thing” among the AppStore, and you’re either going to like it, or developers will chase you until you do. The first one of these I played was Mirror’s Edge, which only somewhat intrigued me, but I didn’t really care to try them all. Since, however, the genre has slowly grown on me, especially when Polara launched several weeks ago. We like fast-pace; we like adrenaline-pumping excitement…so what went wrong in this one?

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Famous comic book legend and mastermind behind Marvel, Stan Lee, needs no introduction. His contribution to the realm of Geek-dom has been substantial, and his creativity indisputable. So when a game of his (narrated by Mr. Lee, mind you), receives such a poor grade, it pains me to have to explain why. We’ll try to make this quick and painless as possible, Stan.

Shall we address what we liked first? The images Verticus produces are undeniably beautiful. The cell-shading is fun to look at (we don’t see this in mobile gaming too crazy-often). The storyline is somewhat generic, yet it’s compelling enough to have some potential. Anything else? Um, Verticus, himself, looks, ehh, spiffy; kinda wish he did more. He’s got a cool name, though, right?

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So the visuals and plot were decent, but… Alright. The 3D perspective is nice thought for an endless runner. Others, such as Temple Run and Running Fred were successful from this character point of view. But unlike running with the camera angle floating above your character, falling, such as in Verticus, often places your character in front of your line of sight. This makes the upcoming obstacles (good and bad) difficult to see before you’re already on top of them. Hit a single land mine (that happens to be floating in the sky?), and your level is terminated. Keeping the above challenges in mind, Verticus is not only difficult, but it’s virtually impossible to play, at least for a substantial amount of time.

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Another Goofy Concept: Not sure why anyone, be it Stan or Moonshark, thought it should cost you coins to save the earth from destruction. Btw, these can only be earned after not playing the game for awhile (yeah, that’s a real motivator to be involved) or by purchasing them. I’m sure either of these options appeal to you.

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Overall: I like the idea of Verticus; I just think the wrong perspective of it was capitalized on. The “falling to earth” scenario should have only been the opening level to an exponentially-creative 3D adventure upon which “our hero” lands on earth and fights across vast landscapes and down into the core. Why wasn’t that game made?

Bottom Line: Verticus would be a great free-to-play title. I could almost justify paying $0.50, but the $1.99 retail price isn’t worth the game you’re getting. Hey, Stan, you should’ve opted for the 3D RPG. Hinty, hinty!

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Sound Off: Now, folks, it’s your turn! Do you have any thoughts, opinions, or general comments about Verticus and/or its developer, Moonshark? I personally reply to every comment, and I’d love to hear what you have to say! Just take your cranial debris and throw it down in the box below!

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