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Game Review: Chameleon Run

Chameleon Run launched a little over a week ago and has been heavily promoted by Apple. Admittedly, I love this game and I am not the only one.

Chameleon Run is an auto-runner where you fly through the air bouncing off platforms, see-saws and slides to make your way to the end of each level. It costs roughly $2 on both iOS and Android and there is no free version. Yet, it’s on the paid iOS charts in the No. 8 slot Overall, No. 5 Game and No. 1 in both Arcade and Racing games.

Here’s the basic gameplay – you are this Minecraft-looking cube dude who needs to run, fly and leap your way to the finish. There are these black coal looking obstacles that can kill you. Then, there’s the whole color-switching element. It follows the well-established game dynamic – don’t touch anything unless you are the same color.

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To play, you tap with your right thumb to jump and left to change color. This sounds easy, but sometimes you feel like your thumbs have a mind of their own. You double jump when you don’t mean to or switch colors when you know you wanted to jump.

But the skill and coordination needed to play the game makes it all that more addictive. I lost myself in one level for over 30 minutes, not even caring that I kept dying. It’s fun and you easily adapt to the whole brain-versus-thumb coordination. It actually feels quite similar to playing a game on the old Nintendo controllers, which might be part of the reason that the game reminds me a bit of the flying levels from Super Mario or the original Sonic the Hedgehog games.

There are three objectives for each level: The first is to finish it; the second is to collect all the coins or crystals; and the third, and arguably the hardest, is to finish an entire level without switching colors. Each challenge dramatically changes how the level is played to the point that it feels like a different level entirely.

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The more you play the harder it gets, which is normal. But what wins me over is that even when you make a mistake, you can land in a different path and keep running toward the finish. I tend to repeat a particular track, but sometimes when you are thrown off it’s not a bad thing. You might find a fan that propels you forward or some lightning speed that you didn’t even know was there.

Mechanics-wise there are different types of jumping. There’s a jump, long jump, double jump, falling jump and falling double jump. You only get two jumps in a row unless you touch the ground to reset or you count or tap your head for one additional jump. The head tap is key or can be your doom when playing through levels without switching colors.

c-run-titleBased solely on this name, this game is not at all what I expected. I get why it’s called Chameleon Run because you change colors as you leap through the game. But man, the name does not even begin to describe how awesome the game truly is. Plus, the word chameleon can be a bit tricky to spell, which could impact discovery. Maybe they should have considered something more like SuperFly 3D, but that’s just me.

Regardless, I highly recommend this game. It sucks you in, has great visuals and sounds effects, and is 10 times better than your standard runner or color-based obstacle game. For roughly the cost of a cup of coffee, you will be entertained and smiling for hours. Or at least I was.

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