Hunger Games: Girl on Fire for iOS brings the action

This "teaser" game tests your running, jumping, and shooting skills. It gets old fast, but it sure is fun while it lasts.

Run, Katniss, run! (Also: shoot, Katniss, shoot!)
Run, Katniss, run! (Also: shoot, Katniss, shoot!) Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Can't get enough "Hunger Games"? Need something to do while you're in line to buy movie tickets? (The film version opens today, in case you've been living underground.) Get ready for some Katniss-inspired app action.

The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire for iOS has arrived, and while it may be little more than a "teaser" game (the studio's words, not mine), it sure is fun.

And not quite what you'd expect from a movie tie-in. It's not some fancy first-person shooter or, heaven forbid, Katniss kart-racing. Instead, Girl on Fire taps the very heart of the "Hunger Games" trilogy: a girl constantly on the run, constantly fighting for her life.

This is what's known as a "perpetual runner," meaning your character (Katniss, natch) is always on the move. Actually, it's the scenery that moves; she remains center-screen at all times.

As Katniss runs, she faces increasingly difficult attacks from wasp-like Tracker Jackers, which shoot at her and try to sting her. Katniss' only weapon, of course, is her trusty bow and arrow. To shoot, you simply tap in the direction of the flying menace.

Katniss can also jump up to a higher platform and back down again, which is crucial for evading attacks. This is done simply by swiping up or down.

And that's the game in a nutshell: run, shoot, jump up, jump down. Ultimately you're trying to survive long enough to return to District 12, at which point you'll face Capitol hovercraft instead of Jackers. (Confession: I haven't made it that far--yet.)

Girl on Fire fully embraces a retro, 8-bit visual style, and although there's little connection between that style and "The Hunger Games," I must admit to liking the game's colorful-but-blocky graphics. Somehow they just feel right.

By the way, there's a bit of history behind this app, as I wrote in last month's "Lionsgate taps indie developer for official 'Hunger Games' game."

Girl on Fire is free, and I think it's a blast. Like most perpetual runners, it can get old pretty quick--but you'll have plenty of fun until then.

 

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