Pocket Climber for iOS review: Climb the skyscraper that never ends

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5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Pocket Climber has fast-paced escape genre gameplay, responsive controls, and plenty of level variation to keep the game interesting.

The Bad The game encourages new players to buy coins to get ahead, but it doesn't take terribly long to earn them yourself.

The Bottom Line If you want a new angle on the perpetual running genre, Pocket Climber is a worthy purchase, with an excellent swipe control system, randomly generated obstacles, and plenty of challenges.

$0.99

9.2 Overall
  • Installation and Setup 9.0
  • Features and Support 8.0
  • Interface 10.0
  • Performance 10.0

Pocket Climber is a total remake of the arcade classic Crazy Climber, where your primary mission is to climb a skyscraper as high as possible. I was immediately interested in this title because I played the arcade game as a kid, and I'm happy to say, the remake as a perpetual runner (climber) does not disappoint.

The graphics have been completely redone, giving you a 3D perspective as you climb and dodge the game's many hazards. In Pocket Climber, people who live in the buildings seem to love to throw just about anything out of their windows, from vases and electric guitars to television sets and large couches. The buildings change as you climb, moving through different styles of buildings with unique challenges to keep the endless climb interesting. Also, each of the obstacles is randomly generated, so no two climbs are alike.

Where the old standup arcade game used dual joysticks to climb, the iOS version does the climbing for you, and instead challenges you to swipe to move around obstacles. Even if the controls are a bit different, if you played the original arcade game, you'll notice some similarities; blinds still open and close, making a section unclimbable and forcing you to move right and left to get out of the way of falling objects. But in Pocket Climber, you'll also have the ability to swipe up, to skip past obstacles (like closing blinds, for example), and to jump a bit farther across wider expanses. The obstacles and falling objects come fast and the controls are very responsive, making for frenetic and sometimes frustrating gameplay.

As you climb, you'll collect coins that can be used in the in-game store. Here you'll be able to buy power-ups such as a helmet that guards against falling objects for a short time, or the magnet that briefly draws coins toward you as you climb. Each of the power-ups can be upgraded to make them last longer, but each upgrade costs quite a bit more than the last. You can also buy a female character to climb with, but it will take a while to earn the coins. If you want more coins, you can buy them with real money in the store. At first I was turned off by this, but I soon realized that the game was enjoyable enough to keep climbing and earning money, so I never had the need to buy anything.

Pocket Climber is one of the better perpetual runners in the App Store, with enough variation as you climb to keep the game interesting. It's also incredibly easy to pick up and play, requiring only one hand, making it a great choice for your commute or whenever you can find a few moments to climb as high as you can.

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