Updated: Grim Joggers Review

The suicidal health nuts are back, in an update that brings a new level called Alien Aerobics. It’s not clear whether our jogging heroes have taken to the skies and landed on an alien world, or the aliens have come here. Either way, it’s kind of like sprinting through a level from Contra on the NES.

In this inhospitable level you can be killed by glowing monoliths, floating bugs reminiscent of metroids, and robots that either flash a red light, which means they’ll kill you, or a green light, which means they give you bonus points for touching them. Along with the new stage come six not-so-easy achievements to nab.

Bad robot.

Unlocking the level, however, requires you to get 200 dog tags on the battlefield map, which takes a little more effort than we were happy to put in. Grim Joggers is certainly fun to play, but unlocking the new level took about 25 minutes of re-running a single level with a single goal, something we’d rather not feel forced to do.

Either way, Alien Aerobics is just as inspired as the rest of the levels, and if you’re hardcore enough to have gotten a number of achievements already, you might’ve already unlocked it. If you haven’t played it yet, this is one of the stand-out games in the endless-running genre.

The endless running genre is getting stale. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we have the high scores to prove it. We’re talking about games like Canabalt, Hellkid, Monster Dash, Robot Unicorn Attack, and the list goes on. The good ones have unique twists to make them stand out. Grim Joggers, a new entry into the genre, brings us something we haven’t seen before: danger-loving health nuts.

The biggest twist in Grim Joggers is that you control a group of joggers as they get their exercise on in several extremely deadly environments. Pits and spike barriers are placed liberally throughout the randomly generated levels, and it’s all you can do to keep these sweatsuit-wearing risk takers alive. Since this is a high score game, no matter what you do they’ll all die eventually, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

I believe it’s jogging or yogging. It might be a soft J.

Just like in most endless running games, your joggers run to the right, with slowly increasing speed, and all you have to worry about is making them jump or double jump. You always control whichever jogger is in the lead, and whatever you do the others mimic. So if you successfully jump over a spike barrier, it’s likely that most of your joggers will, too. If you miss the jump and impale yourself, most of the joggers will do the same, but often some will survive, and the one you control switches to whoever ends up in the lead.

As you attain certain distances, you’ll cross checkpoints that give you score multipliers based on how many runners you have left. When all of your runners perish, your score gets posted to Game Center and any achievements you racked up are awarded. When you get enough achievements, the next level unlocks.

Three levels are available so far: a jungle, a cave, and a snowy environment. Each level has spikes, pits, and a couple of unique obstacles that can take down your jogging team. For example, the cave level contains exploding barrels, and the ice level has hungry polar bears you’d be wise to avoid. One small issue is that the deadly traps can blend into the environments, so you have to have to keep your eyes peeled.

Grim Jogger is a fun game and a universal app, but if you’ve played one or two endless running games before, this one won’t feel all that fresh. Still, the humor and excellent presentation make it worth a look. Just be careful out there. It’s a dangerous world.

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