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Review: Remortal is an ambitious spiritual auto-runner

Developer: Crescent Moon Games
Price: $2.99/£2.99
Size: 688 MB
Version: 1.0.1
Platform: iPhone & iPad


With a name like Remortal: A Spiritual Journey, you might expect Crescent Moon Games’s latest effort to be a wellness app or a particularly meditative adventure game.

One of the last things you’d expect it to be is a first person runner, but that’s precisely what we’re dealing with here.

The narrative can get pretty heavy

While the core mechanics call to mind something like Glitch Dash, however, Remortal’s controls make it feel quite different. Moving your character feels far more fluid and freewheeling, with a tap and drag determining your character’s precise positioning on screen. Gravity doesn’t really have any say here.

You’ll need to guide your disembodied character through a kind of metaphysical obstacle course that appears have been heavily influenced by ancient Japanese iconography. Rocky outcrops will materialise and transform in front of you, demanding a last minute dash to the right or up through a tight gap.

The tap and swipe controls seem to clash

These bread and butter moments are satisfying to navigate, especially when you barely scrape through a space, prompting a ‘near miss’ reward message.

Where the game comes unstuck is when it introduces barriers that require a flick of your iPhone to blast through. This motion simply isn’t reliable enough, failing enough times when under pressure to leave you desperately waggling your iPhone at key moments. It’s exhausting.

The provision of an alternative gesture control seems revealing

Indeed, the developer appears to acknowledge the flakiness of this command by offering an alternative ‘double tap’ motion in the Settings menu. Suffice to say, this doesn’t work any better, as the touchscreen is already overloaded as it is, with the requirement to tap to pick up certain elements.

I also found that the game would occasionally fail to read a swipe movement command immediately after inputing a tap, generally with run-ending consequences – albeit with an immediate restart that never puts you too far back.

There’s a pronounced Japanese theme to the action

Set against these basic frustrations, Remortal’s vague, metaphorical storyline doesn’t quite hit home as it should. The graphics are strong (except when you clip through the floor), and the doom-laden soundtrack is suitably moody, but in a genre that tends to encourage zoning out it doesn’t quite come together as a cohesive whole.

Remortal: A Spiritual Journey presents an interesting and technically impressive twist on the first person autorunner, but its overloaded controls detract from any narrative ambitions it might have.