Updated: rComplex Review

rComplex has received a much-needed update that addresses a number of the issues we complained about in our original review. The most significant improvement is how the game runs. Originally, rComplex felt like a sloppy, unresponsive slog on our fourth generation iPod Touch. Now it runs much more smoothly, thanks to several factors.

One is that they’ve added buttons to make your character jump and slide, and they’re much more responsive than the original swipe-based controls. No longer does the game take its sweet time– or totally fail– to register your input. Now the character’s reaction times feel much snappier, making the game fairly playable. (The swipe controls are still available in the options menu, and they’re still awful– but you needn’t bother yourself with them.)

However, the jumping animation– which was supposedly shortened– still takes too long, meaning you’ll often end up tripping over obstacles you should be able to surmount. This isn’t as much of problem as it was before, but it’s still an issue.

They’ve also stopped repeating the cutscenes that open each level. Before, you’d have to re-watch them each time you died. Now you don’t, which shortens the waiting time between when you die and when you re-start a level. This is definitely better than before, but it still seems to take longer than necessary after death before you’re back in action.

In all, these improvements make rComplex quite a bit more enjoyable to play. It’s also reassuring to see the developers are listen to player feedback and work to fix the problems. They’ll still need to perfect the jumping issue before we would consider recommend the game to everyone, but they’re on the right path.

Considering that a nearly constant stream of auto-runners have been appearing on the App Store for several years now, new ones have to offer something special to make themselves noteworthy. The main thing rComplex offers is a story. As the main character sprints ever forward, a dramatic voiceover lets us in on his thoughts as he tries to puzzle out why he’s being chased by a monster. Although it comes off as cheesy rather than serious, it might’ve been enough to make us keep playing, if only the game mechanics weren’t broken.

Like in most auto-runners, the name of the game here is momentum. To keep up a healthy sprinting pace, you swipe up to jump over obstacles and swipe down to slide under them. Miss one and you’ll stumble, letting the monster gain on you. You’re also sporting a gun with a scythe attachment, so when the creature gets too close you can shoot it to make it back off. If it catches you, you can speed-tap on the screen to slice off the tentacle holding you, but doing so breaks your scythe.

Hey, that tickles!

All of this is pretty standard stuff for the genre, and we’ve seen similar mechanics in Temple Run, Canabalt, Grim Joggers, and countless other titles. The main difference is the storyline, which involves amnesia and isn’t all that interesting. But the problem– the enormous, game-breaking problem– is that your character doesn’t react fast enough to your input. When you swipe up to jump, it takes him so much time to react that he’s usually already stumbled over the object you’re trying to jump over before his feet leave the ground. Other times your swipes do nothing, and you’re left to watch, shaking your head, as he gets clotheslined by a piece of furniture he should easily have avoided.

Making matters worse, when you die you have to wait nearly 30 seconds before you can try the level again. This game is a slow, unresponsive slog. If you really want to play rComplex, you’re probably better off playing the free PC version, which you can download here.

Auto-runners thrive on split-second decision making and snappy controls. rComplex is too broken to even play after the first few levels, when obstacles start to come at you so fast you don’t have a prayer of avoiding them. If the developer updates the game to address the control issue, it might be worth another look. But for now it’s just a shoddy, frustrating experience in an overdone genre. Unless you’re a masochist, there’s no reason to waste your time on a game like this.

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