Tiki Rush: Escape from Lava Island Review for PS Vita

Interested in an endless runner set in the tropics with an enraged fire god on your tail? Read the review to see if this is for you……...
PS Mobile gets new games pretty frequently, and will set you back only a couple of bucks ($2.79 for this title to be exact). Mobile games are supposed to be quick to start up, easy to access and provide a modicum of enjoyment.

Tiki Rush sure sets off in the right direction. The graphics are colorful, the running, jumping, sliding, and gliding are all easy to get as controls, and it's touch based. Fun, right?

Load times?!
Load times on a mobile game need to be negligible. You need to be able to pull out your mobile device, tap the game and expect to play within 30 seconds. You're going to notice that right from the beginning you're going to start counting the seconds you have to wait for the initial load, and then all the subsequent runs after that. Each time you die the map respawns a new sequence of things to maneuver through but it takes 15-30 seconds for it to happen. That may not sound like much, but coupled with some really touchy controls (no pun intended) you find yourself dying often and then you wait. And wait. To try it all again. 
Get used to this screen. 
Every time. 

You have three basic controls. Tap to jump (although you have to hold it down to jump longer... took me several runs and minutes of waiting for loading to occur to figure that out), swipe to glide, and down swipe to duck. I found the controls to be really sensitive and that I often made a mistake by not letting go of a jump touch to swipe a glide across a fiery pit. I know I did the swipe, but it didn't register and I'd plunge into the fire. And wait for the level to reload. 

Same with sliding under logs. Really tough to do with consistent accuracy. 
Takes a while to get this...
The game could be a fun endless runner if it weren't for the controls and load times. I think the random design to each level works to its advantage. You earn gems as you leap about the jungle which can be used to buy upgrades... which happen to only be masks and outfits and then some items for use, like spaceships (?) for moving you ahead. 

You better like jungle guys chanting because that's all you get. After 10 minutes of it I went to the sound bar and shut it off. 
Sure I'll drop $100 to get all those jewels. 

Lasting appeal: 
There are achievements (reach 4500 m, collect 250 gems, etc), daily awards... For a 3 buck mobile game it has a lot to it, but it is crippled by other factors. 

5/10. This could've been a more precisely controlled game. 
You will like this game if you:
  • are an endless runner fan
  • enjoy colorful graphics
  • mobile price tag is easy to justify
You will not like: 
  • extremely long load times
  • hard to master touch screen controls
If you're starving for a runner game, pick this up. However I would recommend bit.trip Runner 2 or OlliOlli if you want a 2D game to play instead. 

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