5 running games that shaped the genre
A look at gaming’s greatest sprints.
The first infinite running games hit the App Store around eight years ago, but these greats remain timeless. The five genre milestones below are just as exhilarating to play now as they were back in the day.
An action-movie chase in game form, Canabalt has you running over rooftops while the city collapses around you. It’s easy to see why it almost single-handedly ignited the genre: busting headfirst through windows and leaping over alleyways is a real thrill.
Temple Run (2011)
The over-the-shoulder viewpoint gives Temple Run a singular intensity. And the sense of speed – yikes! Good luck staying calm as you swipe into turns, slide under barriers and tilt your device to avoid lethal falls. Especially when angry monkeys are on your tail.
Temple Run: Classic
Jetpack Joyride (2011)
Jetpack Joyride arrived a month after Temple Run, packing in tons of ideas, including a jetpack that doubles as a machine gun and vehicle pickups that put you inside a massive, missile-swatting mech. Even when you die, explosions can hurl you further forward, earning you extra points. Brilliant.
High-flying arcade action
Marvel Spider-Man Unlimited (2014)
In addition to being a terrific superhero game, Spider-Man Unlimited expanded the range and depth of the genre. Its rich story mode offers comic book style intros and classic villains. The action shifts effortlessly from brawling to wall-running to web-slinging, and back again.
Alto’s Adventure (2015)
Through its gentle soundtrack and less frenetic pace, Alto’s Adventure is an infinite runner that’s relaxing to play, somehow.
Serene alpine landscapes and finely tuned controls help you get lost in this wintry world, as day turns to night in the game – and in real life.
A serene snowboarding odyssey
Further epic moments
Fotonica’s stylish design and first-person runs have a way of sucking you right in. In Ski Safari you tear down hill and somersault at a breakneck pace. And Sky Dancer: Horizon Run dares you to go from platform runs to hair-raising free falls.