App of the Week: 'Running with Friends'


Zynga has added a brand new game to the "With Friends" franchise, this time ditching the word games in favor of an endless runner. The free-to-play "Running With Friends" is described as the first truly social endless runner, with players trying to outrun and outscore their friends during the annual Running of Bulls in Pamploma, Spain.

"We are committed to expanding Zynga’s mobile portfolio to bring players the most fun, social, and accessible games to play with their friends," said Travis Boatman, Senior Vice President of Mobile at Zynga. "Launching Running With Friends is a natural fit for us as we combine the excitement of the runner category with the social elements of our 'With Friends' franchise."


In similar fashion to other "With Friends" titles players will compete against a single opponent in turn-based matches. The goal is pretty clear -- see how far you can make it before being trampled or slammed into an obstacle by an angry bull. Each match consists of three rounds with the total score determining the winner.

The game seems to borrow elements from several other endless runners. For instance, players will be tasked with collecting letter tiles during their runs to form a word and receive a bonus like they do in “Subway Surfers”. Also along your path are stars, which can be saved up to unlock bonuses and upgrades. Other characters, including Yetis, ninjas and zombies, can also be unlocked by collecting gems.

Something "Running With Friends" does a little differently is introduce destructible objects, not everything in your path will bring your run to halt if it's handled accordingly. For instance, haystacks, barrels and wooden boxes can be smashed by swiping down and sliding into them. On top of that, players can jump on bulls running in front of them to pull off a boosted jump and access taller structures. There are even hidden paths that up the challenge and offer bigger rewards.

My time with “Running with Friends” has been minimal, but if you've played games like “Temple Run” and “Words with Friends” in the past, you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect. It really is a mashup of the two, but Zynga has introduced enough unique features to keep things interesting. It's available now via iTunes, with an Android version coming soon to Google Play.

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