A lot of it comes down to the one-thumb design: you'll hold down a finger to start running, and then release it to leap. Holding down on the screen while in midair forces you to crash back down to a platform below--or alternately, if poorly timed, to your demise--and you'll need to do so to ensure a landing spot at times and try to maintain your momentum. But even beyond the controls, it's the rare first-person game that's ideally suited to mobile. The minimal visuals show well on an iOS screen, and the ability to plug in headphones and get lost for a bit is great.
It has surprising variety: Even with the bare-bones controls and super-simple core visual aesthetic, Fotonica shakes up its routine enough to stay interesting. The seven primary stages challenge you to stay alive to their completion, with a variety of vertical paths letting you choose your own path to the goal. Meanwhile, the three endless stages provide a constant array of platforms to bound between, with the goal of staying alive for as long as possible and setting a high score. And you can even play Fotonica in local split-screen competitive multiplayer, whether you're rocking an iPad or an iPhone.
Sure, Fotonica fits the basic description of a runner game, but it's more adventurous than many of its contemporaries--both in style and spirit. Despite origins on other platforms, it proves a perfect fit for quick-hit mobile sessions and proves to be a pretty enrapturing one-thumb experience.
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