The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire iPhone Review

Step inside a movie theater this weekend, and you'll probably get trampled to death by hundreds of jacked up kids desperately trying to see The Hunger Games, Hollywood's adaptation of Suzanne Collins' young adult novel. You can brave the zombie like crowds, or relax at home playing the free iPhone and iPad release, The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire. We suggest doing the latter.

Spearheaded by Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman with Lions Gate Films' blessing, the 2D runner puts you in control of sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a young girl who lives in the post apocalyptic ruin of North America.

Before the 74th Hunger Games begin, where she'll fight in a winner-take-all match of survival, Katniss ventures beyond the fence of her home in District 12 and runs into the Capitol's humongous Tracker Jacker wasps.

Similar to Canabalt, you cannot stop Katniss from pushing forward. Instead, it's your job to keep her out of harm's way, swiping up and down to move the young heroine between two platforms, one high and one low.

At the same time, you tap enemies to fire Katniss' bow, scoring points along the way.

What separates this title from most running games, aside from the combat, is health. You won't necessarily lose if Katniss smacks into something. Instead, she'll momentarily fall to her knees and the screen becomes blurred, signifying that she's close to death. Continue unhurt for a few moments, and things return to normal.

In addition, you'll successfully complete levels and move onto new ones, which helps break the monotony of seeing the same old forest background.

All told, it's quite an addictive game, with the inclusion of combat adding a fun element to the tried and true running formula made popular on iOS.

There's Game Center support to compare high scores, but at the moment, it only displays the top ten leaders. To see the rest, we had to quit the app and open Game Center manually, which is something the developers should fix in a future update.

Meanwhile, there are a bunch of links in the Extras section that'll appeal to Hunger Games fanatics, letting them purchase movie tickets, visit the official website and download ringtones, among other things.

That said, Girl on Fire didn't blow us away. Marginal improvements don't hide the fact that it plays almost exactly like its competitors. We can say with confidence, though, that it's without question one of the best runners on the App Store, as well as a cool companion to the books and movie. At least you have something to enjoy while waiting in line for popcorn.

What's Hot: Canabalt style gameplay mixed with combat, retro flavored 2D graphics, cool swipe controls, plenty of links to Hunger Games websites, free to play.

What's Not: Lacks full Game Center integration.

4/5