Android game Shine Runner streaks and shops on the bayou

by Ian Black

Don’t drink and drive! Even if you’re piloting a fan boat on a bayou. You’ll probably end up in a heap of trouble like the main character of the racing game Shine Runner. He’s running moonshine, “tobacky” and other goods from store to store along a swampy river, and he needs your help.

The game reminds me of the Winter Olympics biathlon, where participants must race on cross-country skis from point to point and then stop and accurately shoot targets with a rifle. I’ve heard competitors on TV say that slowing your pounding heart and panting breath in order to steady your aim is extremely challenging. Here, you must pilot your fan boat like you’re running for your life (because the throttle is always maxed) over ramps and around tight turns, all the while smashing through docks and even destroying waterfront cabins and then, when you reach the next store, stop and calmly decide what goods to buy and sell, carefully watching the prices so you can buy low and sell high to make a profit. It’s hard.

What’s not to love? Well, a couple things. I like the tilt-control setting for steering more than the touch-screen controls. I kept pausing the game when tapping the screen to steer to the right. And the courses get a little repetitive, even though new obstacles like other boaters and the police, get added as you progress.

All in all, if you like to switch modes — from racing to economics, for example — in mid-game, you’ll enjoy this entrepreneurial adventure.