Just when you thought there were no ways left to add a fresh spin on cricket games, here’s One More Run. In it, you don’t bat and you don’t bowl; all you do is run between the wickets. So on a list of the least interesting things in cricket, it chooses to focuses on the one that would have topped it had it not been for fielding. And yet One More Run will manage to hold your attention way longer than a cricket game about running has any business to.
The game is presented in an 8-bit style that mobile and indie developers like so much these days, and it works here because it suits the simplicity of the game. You’re given the task of scoring a certain number of runs within a set number of balls. The batsmen will play strokes on their own and it’s up to you to get the runs. Get run out and it’s game over. It sounds simple, and it is, but there are various factors that keep things interesting. For one, if you set off on a second run and time it perfectly, you’ll get a speed boost. Accumulate ten such ‘perfect runs’ and you’ll get a one-time-use bonus of six runs.
The game also lets you pull off dives for when you decide to sneak in an extra run, but these are limited in supply. You can either earn them from open play, usually when you run threes and fours, but you can also earn some by spending in-game currency. Here’s where the game will be strikingly familiar to anyone who’s played Crossy Road. You earn coins during the course of play and as rewards for coming back every few hours, and even the way in which these rewards are presented is a little too similar to Crossy Road. You can then spend these coins to perform a coin toss and unlock in-game items. Get heads and you’ll unlock a new team, which is basically a new kit colour for your batsmen. It’s purely cosmetic, like the various characters you unlock in Crossy Road. Get tails though and you’ll earn extra dives, which are way more useful.
Where One More Run loses out in comparison to games like Crossy Road is longevity. While the latter challenges you to go further each time and break your previous distance record, One More Run’s system of challenging you to accumulate as many runs as possible isn’t quite as addictive. One More Run consists of short matches and so it doesn’t quite have the continuity that its score accumulation system hopes to encourage. As a result, getting out after accumulating 25 runs over the course of four matches doesn’t feel like much of a loss as opposed to blowing it after a 400m run in Crossy Road. For games as simple in formula as these, this form of longevity is vital.
That said, it’s the short matches that will actually keep you coming back. There’s very little in the way of fluff here, so you’ll be quickly moving from one match to the next, and before you know it, 30 minutes have gone by. The challenges are quite easy to begin with, and they only really get hard after you’ve survived a few matches. In fact, I’ve never really fallen short of a target; I always either won or got run out trying, which brings me to one of my issues with One More Run.
On more than a few occasions, I felt a little cheated by the game. Shots that should easily have cleared a fielder would sometimes be intercepted; fielders often seem to stop a ball after it’s gone past them; and at times fielders deep in the outfield aren’t seen on screen, making it a bit of a guessing game. Neither of these issues is too serious and they don’t really take away from the fun, but it can be a bit frustrating when they end your five-match winning streak.
Over the last week, One More Run’s quick matches and no-nonsense presentation have made it my go-to game when I’m looking to kill a few minutes. That said, this is a simple game and it doesn’t pretend to be any different, so if you’re looking for a wholesome cricket game for mobile, look elsewhere.