Endless runners are pretty much perfect for mobile devices, because they’re easy to get into and great for short play sessions. A new iPhone game in that genre from a Toronto-based developers Darrin Henein and Stephan Leroux called Lastronaut may be the best currently available endless runner for those looking for value: it’s totally free, with no ads or in-app purchases whatsoever.
The game was a fun side-project for its creators, who wanted to do something that would remain free forever, without the commerce-driven in-game incentives typical of most freemium titles. It focuses on the Lastronaut, a pixelated protagonist who is the person left behind to close up shop and follow the rest of humanity into space following a robot apocalypse that resulted in the need for a mass exodus of our home planet.
Side-scrolling action leaves the player with only two control inputs: tap on left side of the screen to jump, and tap on the right to fire your weapon. Each time you die, you start with a random weapon equipped, from a selection of five, and you can grab pods in-game to change your loadout to another random gun.
Lots of things blow up, and there’s Micheal Bay-style slow-mo effects when things are blowing up especially well, which is actually both a strength and an annoyance. I like them as a visual flourish, but the character death animation and the successful kill chain slow-mo look exactly the same, so it can be a bit confusing to figure out which is which in the heat of battle.
Lastronaut is not complicated, but it is fun and nice to look at. Plus, that promise of a truly “free” title to enjoy without in-app purchase pesters is hard to pass up.