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'Temple Run' meets 'Smash TV': death is an endless sport in 'Outland Games'

'Temple Run' meets 'Smash TV': death is an endless sport in 'Outland Games'


The studio behind ‘Monday Night Combat’ tries its hand at mobile gaming

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Outland Games
Outland Games

In endless running games, death is inevitable. No matter how long you last in Temple Run, you'll fail eventually. Outland Games on iOS takes that premise to its logical conclusion. You'll be running and fighting for your freedom in front of a live television audience, one that's anticipating your imminent demise. Everyone knows you won't make it — but when your freedom is at stake, why not give it a go?

Outland Games plays a lot like other mobile running games, but, much like Punch Quest, it adds combat into the mix. Your character runs automatically, while you control her jumps — including a slick Castlevania-style double jump — and attacks. The wasteland you'll be traversing is filled with robots ready to take a swing at you, explosive mines just daring to be touched, and a standard assortment of video game staples like spike-filled pits and tiny platforms. A goofy and occasionally funny Smash TV-style announcer details your adventure for the folks watching at home. There are even sponsors.

It's lighthearted televised violence

The televised setting is a large part of what makes the game so charming, and it'll also feel very familiar to anyone who has played the arena shooter Monday Night Combat. Both games were developed by Uber Entertainment, and they both take place in the same fictional universe. The character you'll play in Outland Games is an assassin, one of the classes in Monday Night Combat. The two games are very different — one is an endless runner and the other is a third person shooter — but they feel similar in a lot of ways. It's lighthearted televised violence.

"We've always wanted to do something with the Outlands in the Monday Night Combat universe," says Uber artist and designer Chandana Ekanayake, "and a Running Man-inspired survival runner fit perfectly. The MNC games take place inside the giant city-states of the world, while the Outland Games are on the fringe and on the tougher parts of the country. The death sport of the future with a cheeky announcer and ridiculous products works well in the MNC universe."

'Outland Games' screenshots


"The death sport of the future."

The similarities don't end there. Much like in MNC, Outland Games lets you earn cash as you play, in this case by collecting coins. Unfortunately, aside from a few actual upgrades, most of what you can buy is purely cosmetic. So while a cool demon suit and Darth Maul-esque double sided lightsaber might make your character look badass, they won't actually give you an advantage. This is especially disappointing considering just how long it can take to save up for some of the more impressive gear. (Of course, you can always drop a few real-world dollars to save some time.)

This makes Outland Games less appealing from a loot hoarding perspective, but the game itself is still very fast and fun, and it feels surprisingly fresh considering just how many endless runners we've all played by now. It's also Uber's first foray into mobile gaming, developed by a tiny team of five over the last seven months. The studio plans to expand its mobile efforts in the future, which could include not only new games, but also extra content for Outland Games — both in the form of new gear to buy as well as different play styles. "It really depends on what the players want out of the game," says Ekanayake, "but there are plans."