Review: Shine Runner

Dukes of Hazzard, pull over and turn off the General Lee, because you just got owned by the hillbillies running moonshine through the bayou. Want to try your luck at outrunning the Law? Then hop in your flat-bottom fanboat and try being a Shine Runner! From launch ramps, to gators, to the Law trying to bring you to a halt, there is no stopping a dedicated, bootleggin’ hillbilly trying to make a buck in the bayou.

If you are unaware of Vector Unit’s other fast paced games on the various gaming platforms, you too may be hesitant to spend $1.49 for this game (Google Play). Personally, I was attracted to this game for the sake of the graphics. Shine Runner was recommended as a game that works excellent with the NVIDIA Tegra processor that is smokin’ in my new ASUS Eee Pad Transformer I recently acquired. (Fricken sweet by the way!) And let me say, its  $1.49 well spent. Shine Runner is a simple concept, yet the game is a blast, especially since each fast paced level only takes about 50-60 seconds. This means it’s easy to get a quick play in here and there and still give my 2 year old kid the attention he deserves/demands (why don’t they understand Daddy wants some game time?)

Here’s how this Shine Runnin’ thing works: Buy stuff in each store as cheap as you can. Smuggle it in that souped-up fanboat o’ yers to somewheres new, and sell it at a profit.

Yer goal is to make as much money as you can. You only got 10 days, so make ‘em count!

That’s the quick overview of this game given in the tutorial. But it’s much more than that. Its basically 10 rounds of full-throttle, (almost) out of control racing with each round taking less than 60 seconds. It gave me a feeling of Dukes of Hazard meets fanboats. All it was missing was my fanboat driver running down the dock and sliding across the hood before jumping into the driver seat. And of course the smokin’ hot Daisy from the original TV series in her cut off jean shorts splashing in the water in slow motion.

Let’s pause for a moment and appreciate that visual………………….okay, where was I?

This game, developed by Vector Unit Inc is beautifully done. Nice, fun graphics with a lot of humor throughout the game without going over the top and ruining it. Everything a goof ball like myself needs for a digital good time.

Missions take you through tunnels where you are trying to avoid the vertical braces keeping the place from caving in on you.

There are the sunny, day time runs where you launch out of the water and take to the land momentarily, going up and over grass berms, where the foolish cops think they can get you to stop. I personally enjoy running them down because instead of actually killing them like would happen in most games, the developers kept it “safe” and just have you deflect them off the front of your fanboat. Flinging the cops through the sky, screaming as they splash down in the water beyond.

And another graphically pleasing round is in the middle of the night as you go hauling down through the bayou with fireflies bouncing off your face, and the Law in their flatboats getting in your way.

What was especially impressive was how all the boundaries of the map were practically non-existent. Meaning, you never feel like you are hitting an invisible brick wall when accidentally launching too far off to the right or left of the river. The developers seemed to have calculated where you could possibly go flying off course and put a large tree or have the edge of a cliff as an object your fanboat ricochets off of to bounce you back on course. Well done Vector Unit! Why can’t expensive console games figure out how to design a map without the dreaded invisible brick wall?

The game is great and gets you addicted just on the game play alone, with what appears to be standard audio quality coming out of your device’s little speakers. But then, as if the game isn’t impressive enough, plug in a set of headphones and prepare yourself for an eargasm. The game just climbs to a whole other level of quality when you can actually isolate and hear the crystal clear stereo sound effects. With proper audio placement of things you pass up, things you approach, etc. For those that are a sucker for quality sound & visual ties, you’re going to love this game with your headphones on, because they nailed it. Most impressive audio is when you go rippin through the cave tunnels. The depth of the echoes vs. the up and down volume levels as you get deeper into the tunnels depending on the distance between side walls was impressive.

Did I mention it impressed me? Audio is a solid 10!

“Getting stuck” was the first thing that came to mind when reading the limited controls for the game which is LEFT and RIGHT. That’s it. No reverse, no braking. Just left and right and its full throttle the entire time. Even though they put a “reset” button in the bottom right corner for when you get your boat jammed in a hole somewhere, I couldn’t find a way to get stuck. The maps of Shine Runner were so well thought out that even though you lose complete and total control of your fanboat occasionally due to the high speeds at which you are tearing through gator country, there really isn’t any funky spots where your boat can get stuck. Or none that I could find.

As for violence and sexual content, which many people like myself need to be concerned with as our kids play with our digital devices too, its very low key. No vulgarity at all. Unless you’re French and will get insulted by someone yelling “Slow down there froggy!” The only reference to “guns” is one of the stores you are trying to buy or sell your goods to, which is called “Guns N Jugs”. But besides the cartoon shotgun on the logo, and the guns on the redheaded girl with a pair of camo holstered jugs, you won’t see any other guns or “sexual visuals” throughout the game.

She does have a purty mouth though.

This is the most “graphic” image in the game for those concerned about the content little kids see.

No bullets flying or guns firing, even though the cops are trying to stop you all throughout your travels. They just attempt road blocks or bounce against your fanboat with theirs to slow you down. Additionally there is no obvious death. You hit people with your fan boat, but instead of having them splat and drown, Vector Unit chose to have them just get flung off somewhere and splash into the muddy water. But not before they yell some mild insult or just a simple “Yeeoowww”. And don’t forget the alligators that grunt as you occasionally run over them by accident. And who can’t resist hitting a hen house on the side of the river just to hear the cluck of a dozen chickens getting tossed in the air.

For those that are a bit competitive, there is OpenFeint and the iOS version has Game Center, for all your leaderboards and sharing of scores against friends and foes.

All in all, this is an addictive, yet simple and fun game to play. Best played on a tablet. I personally feel it is safe for all ages, considering there is more violence in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Though the game is called Shine Runner, and you are in theory smuggling Tobacky, Gator Tails, Snake Oil, and of course Shine, among other things, you are never shown these objects or hear any narration of these items. The game having just the 5 maps may deter you at first, rest assured, you will find that with no brakes on your full-throttled fanboat, every time you make a Shine Run, it’s different from the last. If you like fast paced fun with a bit of humor, this game will put a smile on your face every time you play.

“I got something growing in my teeth!”


Final Rating: 8/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Android Tablet (ASUS Eee Pad Transformer)
Available On:Google Play, App Store, Amazon Appstore, Nook
Time to completion:
10-12 minutes.  But its intended to repeat for different results
Gamer Score Earned: $17,200 first try.  Current high score $34,161
Price Bought at: $1.49
Current Price:$1.49 for Android on Google Play
Recommend Purchase Price: $1.49
Why you should buy it: Quick fun for those with a small amount of free time
Why you shouldn’t buy it:
Violates your probation to commit illegal acts, even if in a game

For more Indie Invasion reviews click the image above!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.