Being an iPhone game reviewer, I'm asked to review a ton of endless runner games. The App Store is absolutely brimming over with them. Luckily, Chillingo was also aware of this problem, and in the case of Totem Runner, they seem to have made a special effort to make the infinite marathon super fun, playable, and a little different from the rest of the pack.
Totem Runner couldn't be more of a hippie if he refused to wear shoes, didnít bathe and volunteered for Greenpeace. From the gameplay and brief, abstract intro animation, I gather our fit king is some kind of woodland deity who's trying to restore his rainforest to its former glory after a volcano demon threw a temper tantrum on the landscape. What was once a luscious green paradise has become a burnt, blackened, thorny hell, infested with gross giant insects and vicious hunters intent on destruction.
Conveniently, Totem Runner has the power to plant grass and flowers with his hand, transform into a bird to fly over chasms and assume the form of a warthog to charge enemies. Obviously, rejuvenating the forest with this skill set isn't such a tall order. As TR runs perpetually from left to right, you'll be in charge of switching from form to form to conquer each obstacle, and the game quickly evolves from a pleasant stroll through the woods to a nail-biting chase with danger at every turn.
One of the things that sets Totem Runner apart from the pack is its excellent graphics. Every inch of your journey is complemented by beautiful multi-layered backgrounds, and the visual style is reminiscent of shadow puppets. Despite missing out on the tonnes of buyable upgrades and bonuses that popular running games like Punch Quest
and Jetpack Joyride incorporate, I get the impression that Totem Runner doesn't need those kind of gimmicks. They wouldn't gel with the eco-conscious ethos of the game. Totem Runner knows just what it wants to do, and pulls the feat off perfectly.