If you’re like me, you’ve played the original Zaxxon (on our fourth-grade classroom’s Apple IIe, mind you!) and you think Temple Run is thematically uninteresting. Really, a bunch of apes chasing a scared adventurer down a series of randomized paths until it simply becomes impossibly difficult to play? Boring. But, turn your adventure into blaster-enabled spaceship and the apes into flames licking your ship’s rear end and you’ve got Zaxxon Escape. How good is it? Really good.
While having absolutely little to do with the original Zaxxon (to the benefit of everyone) you play Lando Calrissian piloting a nimble fighter escaping what the three-second introduction explains is the destruction of the Death Star 2. Okay, not quite, but you’ve just blown up a critical reactor at the center of a thing and you’re now tasked with escaping the mayhem occurring behind you. Like Temple Run, you’ll reach randomized junctures where you’ll need to swipe the screen to change direction, but in a twist all its own, you’ll need to twist your device to maneuver through a series of canted gateways. As the difficulty progresses, you’ll have a hard time not only swiping at proper times, but also flipping your mobile/tablet in all kinds of crazy directions, like some sort of handheld version of Twister.
Similarly, you have access to a Zaxxon store to buy power-ups to deploy and score enablers and so forth. Unlike its jungle-themed progenitor, Zaxxon Escape is a bit rough around the edges technically. The game requires some beefy hardware and both my Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 stuttered from time to time while odd crashes weren’t uncommon. The game also fails to register inputs from time to time, sending me exploding into exploding messes on more than one occasion and making the tutorial frustratingly difficult when normal gameplay didn’t seem to suffer as much from swipe ignores.
Issues aside, Zaxxon Escape is an easy recommend, provided you’ve got the hardware for it.