The endless runner. A genre where the player is continually moving in a set direction to see just how far he or she can progress before failing. It’s a genre that iPhone/iPad/iPod owners are all too familiar with after the runaway success of Temple Run, which is considered, in a sense, the father of the genre. Since then, there have been an unaccountable slew of carbon copies of the game that rarely do anything much different or intuitive. Enter Chris Seavor and his new development studio Gory Detail Limited with their very own take on the ‘Endless Runner’ genre–one that is immensely different and, well, much more fun than those before it. Their game is Parashoot Stan.
Gameplay and General Information
In Parashoot Stan, you play as Captain Stanley Ottershaw and your goal is to survive for as long as possible against the evil Baron Bully and his diverse league of Nozzers. This is accomplished by endlessly falling downward and using tilt controls and the touch screen to navigate through, dodge, and attack the enemy Nozzers that will stop at nothing to see your demise. You will eventually lose, but the goal is to progress for as many feet as possible until you do. Stanley is capable of withstanding up to three hits from typical obstacles such as the Grime Mines and Nokkers. If this happens, then it’s best to enter a Closet–which the game is very generous in giving–when it appears as it will fully regenerate your health. There are, however, many things that will kill you with just one hit. Shredders, for instance, will instantly shred poor Stanley to pieces, so take extra care when approaching those obstacles.
Along the way, there a few things to collect including Silver, Gold and, most importantly, the Plans. The Silver and Gold are utilized to purchase various items from the game’s shop such as Coffins, Parachutes, Scarves, Pals, and more; the Plans are what increases Stanely’s rank which, in turn, will unlock more items in the shop to be purchased with your Silver and Gold. The Plans are a bit trickier to collect, however, as they must be acquired in threes and then properly secured by surviving against the Supreme Noz and then taking control of the Noz Gunner. Failing to do this will result in no Plans being added to your total. Here is a full run-down of the abilities and functions of the other items…
- Coffins- These what will bring Stanely back to life so that you can continue to progress even further, but bear in mind that if you’re looking to achieve a high distance or score on the leaderboards, then using a Coffin will automatically invalidate your current game from the leaderboards.
- Parachutes- These are used to slow Stanley down in times when speed may make it difficult to navigate around certain objects and enemies. They can also be used propel Stanely forward, allowing you to dodge anything forthcoming, but very briefly. If used properly, they can and will save your life in the most dire of situations, so don’t ever be hesitant to use it when absolutely necessary. There are a number of designs available for purchase in the Shop using your collected Silver and Gold, but they all serve the same purpose.
- Scarves- Stanely has a Scarf tied around his neck that wavers in the wind has he falls through the sky. It doesn’t really serve any purpose aside from being part of his “health” and adding an extra level of customization to your preferences in Stanley’s look. There are a number of Scarves available in the Shop to purchase with your acquired Silver and Gold
- Pals- The Pals are dog companions that adds additional abilities to the game. They’ll appear from time-to-time as your falling and must be grabbed if you want use the powers they have to offer (a Whistle bring them sooner). The abilities of the Pals are all unique to the Pal itself. Floss Boss, for instance, will attack Baron Bully when he arrives on scene and cause him to drop a Plan and retreat. Up to three Pals can be placed in your slots at the Shop and wielded simultaneously when your playing the game, assuming you manage to obtain three.
As mentioned above, every time you collect three Plans, the Supreme Noz appears and steals your Plans away from you. Surving against the Supreme Noz will secure your stolen Plans and allow you to take control of its Noz Gunner, giving you the ability to now fire upon your enemies and obstacles as you fall. You’ll control the Noz Gunner until you are hit three times, in which case the Noz Gunner will explode and leave Stanley vulnerable to all obstuctions and enemies as he was before. Play carefully and play smart when utilizing the Noz Gunner as that is key to how far you will truly progress into the game.
Graphics And Sound
Sound-Anyone who has played Chris Seavor’s Conker’s Bad Fur Day and/or Conker: Live & Reloaded will immediately recognize and fall in love with game’s vocal aspects. There’s a charm to Stanley’s voice that is lovable from the get-go that is bound to make any player smile with his verbal outbursts and screams of excitement (and agony when he’s killed). Even the deep and somewhat ominous voice of Baron Bully is a joy to hear and the sad screams of the Nokker pilots as their planes are destroyed are hilarious.
Despite how awesome the voicework is, the general sound effects and explosions are where the sound really shines… especially if you’re using headphones (as the game recommends). You’ll feel as if you’re in the middle of a war with the sound of the bullets as they leave the Nokkers and even moreso when you’re destroying mines and missiles with the Noz Gunner. The menu/shop music has its own charming tune that should get any player in the mood to play. It’s very innocently sounding and yet creates this military vibe that will instantly have you feeling as if you’re prepping for a great battle–and indeed you are.
Graphics- They’re phenomenal. The art style chosen for Parashoot Stan matches the game perfectly and you couldn’t imagine it looking any different. Its dark tone and careful attention placed upon even the smallest of details instantly makes this game one of the best looking games available on the App Store. And did I mention the gore? While it’s not too over-the-top, the development studio lives up to its name by providing gory details on the animations when Stanley is killed. Very nice touches and a bit of realism such as seeing Stanley’s face contorted when splattered across the screen and even his spinal cord protruding from his body when he’s been shredded in half. It doesn’t appear as drastic as it sounds, but it’s definitely a sight to see… And one you’ll be seeing again and again and again…
What I Loved
The Controls- I’ll be honest. At first, I hated them. The game has several images teaching you how to play the game, each of them showing an iPad. This seems to indicate that the game was, more-or-less, designed with the iPad in mind and ported for a bigger audience to be compatible for iPhone (which is what I use) and iPod users. Perhaps it was, but it doesn’t matter. Once I discovered
my own proper way of utilizing them, I fell in love with them. Now I wouldn’t want the game to be played any other way and can’t imagine how it would be!
The Leaderboards- I’ve never been someone who cares much about leaderboards. In fact, I’ve never cared about leaderboards… until now. There’s just something about Parashoot Stan that pricks and prods at me that creates this need to be on top. And I can proudly say that, at the time of this writing, I am :)
The Sense of Speed- There is never a single instance when you don’t feel the speed of your fall. There’s a meter on the right side of the screen that indicates your current speed level, but you’ll know how fast you’re falling as you play as you start zipping past objects and adversaries at neck-breaking speeds. A nice jerk toward you with your iPhone or iPad and you’ll enter ‘Super Stan’ mode and be diving downard headfirst at an unprecedented speed. It’s awesome!
What I Hated
The Confusing Menu- After nearly twenty hours of gameplay, I still find myself sometimes getting lost in the game’s menu and shop system. The system itself looks wonderful and the music is great, it’s just a bit confusing at times to navigate through if you haven’t been to it for awhile.
The Parachute… Sometimes
As previously stated, the Parachute can mean the difference between life or death, but it can also lead to your death. The primary instances when this happens is when you have a Pal in your possession. Tapping the touch screen to use the Parachute when you have Pal with you will instead use the Parachute on the Pal itself to release him. There are times when you’ll just simply forget about this in sheer desperation to avoid whatever obstacle is approaching and will find yourself dead in an instant. So be extra careful when in this particular position!
What Needs To Be Fixed
The Occasional Crash-There’s nothing worse than progressing thousands upon thousands of feet to suddenly have the game crash on you for no apparent reason. At times it does and it’s really unpredictable to know if it will or not. It’s not so dire a situation, however, that you should refrain from purchasing or playing the game as it rarely ever happens; but the thought of it maybe crashing whilst playing is enough to make me more nervous about the crash than actually making an error and losing in the game itself! The one thing that will guarantee a crash though is if you receive a phone call while playing on the iPhone. It has happened to me twice and it has crashed both times, forcing me to start over. Receiving texts and e-mails has had no effect.
Sleep Mode- This is the one issue above all that needs to be addressed. The game lacks a “Sleep Mode”, which means you cannot exit the game and expect to come to it later and continue from where you left off. So if you sit down in an attempt to travel as far as possible, then you had best plan to do so in one single run, otherwise it’s back to the beginning with you.
What I’m Looking Forward To
The Story of Stanley Ottershaw- Gory Detail Limited has teased fans of the game with an upcoming feature that will tell the story of Stanely, something that we don’t really know much of anything about. What I’m hoping is that it will go into detail on Stanley’s past, how and why Baron Bully captured him and exactly how Stanley made his escape.
Future Downloadable Content- In the ‘News’ menu in the game’s Shop, there is mention of some DLC potentially coming in the future. If the game sells well enough, then I’d assume that it is all but inevitable to come. There is no indication as to what the DLC will consist of, but I’m hoping for some additional Noz enemies, items and Pals, and perhaps a new gameplay mode or two that will also add new leaderboards.
Parashoot Stan is a very challenging game and isn’t for the faint of heart. It is relentless in its design to blow you up, splash you to bits and mutilate at you every turn. It requires patience, endurance and the proper motivation and will power if you plan to progress deep into the game and properly enjoy everything it has to offer. It’s beautifully designed and remarkable to behold in both its visuals and sound. Give it a chance and don’t let it’s difficulty fool you. Practice hard and get a grasp on the controls and you’ll find yourself returning to it again and again just see if you can progress a little bit further.