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Review: Prison Run and Gun – ultra-tricky 2D puzzle-platformer

Pixel-art platform-puzzle adventure

Price: $1.99 / £1.49
Version: 1.0
Size: 60.5 MB
Developer: Quantized Bit
Platform: iPhone & iPad


Prison Run and Gun is a cheeky little puzzle-platformer that’s just landed on the App Store. The premise is, the player controls Jake, a recent prison escapee, who’s attempting to find his way out through various floors of the prison, picking up weapons and avoiding obstacles across 30 levels and three zones. Now that might not sound a lot, but when you find yourself stuck at the end of zone 1, wondering how the game could possibly get much harder, you’ll think again.

It's harder to jump high when you're carrying a weapon

It’s harder to jump high when you’re carrying a weapon

On first look, this 2D pixel-art game looks like a straight-forward platformer, but as you explore further, you’ll find various mechanics at play which dictates the gameplay. An example of this is the use of guns. There are plenty of platforms that Jake can jump onto, or at least grab on to the ledge and pull himself up, but with a gun in his hand, his flight is significantly reduced, requiring the player to be a little cleverer with their manoeuvre. Instead, players needs Jake to fling the gun up on a ledge during a jump before joining it by jumping without the burden of the weapon.

This kind of strategy applies elsewhere. There are various proximity mines requiring a player to take a specific route to avoid, while later they may be used to explode motion-sensor machine guns that have been set up to stop you. Later, proximity-mine carrying prisoners are deployed onto the level, requiring Jake to use a weapon to stop them, or risk getting blown up himself. It gets incredibly tricky once these layers of difficulty come together, for example, if you have to use the prisoner’s mine to blow up another obstacle in order to access a key.

The remnants of a mine-carrying fellow prisoner

The remnants of a mine-carrying fellow prisoner

A nice touch is that the amount of objects you have to collect is limited to that key on each level. You can still complete the level without it, but it’s nice that this single focus allows the majority of the level to revolve around the strategic thinking.

Prison Run and Gun is a perfect title for a handheld iOS device. The game itself is actually something of spin-off to developer Quantized Bit’s desktop title Hot Guns, but the iOS title appears to be a simpler game focused on the individual player. Overall, Prison Run is a top title, with hours of fun – due in part to its difficulty – though for seasoned iOS gamers, this might be the level of difficulty desired of a platformer. For more casual gamers, it might be a little bit more of a frustrating experience. However, for just $2 we’d definitely recommend giving this one a shot.