AR Treasure Run is a fast-paced treasure hunt augmented reality game. The game scans the environment and places items for you to collect. The treasure items are visible on the surface, and the only thing for you to do is to go and grab them.
The game is quite similar to games like AR Hide and Seek and ARrrrrgh in the way you need to walk around the environment searching for items. However, in AR Treasure Run the items are visible on the surface and there is even an arrow pointing you where they are located. The reason for this is because you a have a limited to collect all the treasures in each level.
AR Treasure Run requires way more physical effort to play, especially if you scan a large gameplay area. The game requires at least 7m2 gameplay area to start playing the game.
What I liked about AR Treasure Run is that each level has unique obstacles like moving bombs, angry ghosts chasing you, traps, etc. There are a total of 41 levels and 20 different treasure items to collect. You might find it funny, but I actually failed a few times, maybe because I was too greedy and rushed to grab that golden cup just to let myself get caught by the bomb which was circulating it.
At the bottom of the screen, you see how much meters you ran during the gameplay session. I ran like 800 meters, seriously. I didn’t even notice that I was moving that much. This is a good exercise app, seriously, it’s not just moving around the environment, but also crouching to collect the treasure from the ground, well, at least if you are a tall guy like me.
I’ve played the game both indoors and outdoors. When I played it indoors I actually hit a bottle on the floor and my cat got really scared. You really need to pay attention to the environment when playing this game. I went indoors because I felt it would be more fun playing this game in a larger environment. The game doesn’t limit the gameplay area. If you want to play in a small area you can, if you feel like playing it on a soccer ball field, I guess you can do that as well. Anyways, the important thing is to make sure you watch yourself when playing this game.
The player has three lives after that it’s game over and you get to see how many items you collected, the distance taken and the play duration.
I did encounter some issues though. The game played fine indoors, but outdoors I had some problems with it. For example, sometimes the items spawned in an area underneath the floor so I couldn’t reach it. Sometimes the items spawned on a tree and I have no idea how the hell ARKit was able to find a surface there. It probably wouldn’t be a big issue if I was able to reset the environment without starting the game from the first level So the issue is that there isn’t any reset button and I just couldn’t continue playing the game because the items spawned in those areas almost all the time. I didn’t want to start all over again, I wanted to finish all the levels but I couldn’t.
The game is also not optimized for the iPad so it doesn’t play on the entire screen. Second, the UI doesn’t rotate when played in landscape orientation.
The game has really nice music and even some good humor. For example, one time the game told me that I can rest a bit and gave me one item to catch, only to find a second later that it was joking and gave me a more challanging round :).
I have to admit, I felt good after that little exercise. After playing quite some time with the game, I can understand why the developer added a walking meter to the game. I didn’t have a chance to finish all levels, and I’m pretty sure that there are some more cool levels that I haven’t yet explored.
I want to add some words about the presentation. The game’s presentation is very plain and boring. The problem is that putting more virtual items in a game like that can hide some physical obstacles that can make a kid fall while playing it, so I can understand the usability decision behind it. That being said, I think adding something like birds flying in the air and adding some nice ambient noises can improve the overall atmosphere. I would personally add some little nasty creatures that compete against you in trying to get the treasure before you do.
I’ve visited the developer’s website. This game is developed by the same developer, Kretin Studios, who developed the amazing Shark Deco app. To be honest, I’m quite surprised that the same developer who developed the beautiful Shark Deco app put so little attention to the visuals in this game.
The visuals are just one aspect though. In fact, I’ve played a few games that weren’t rich in visuals, but the core gameplay felt really good and with some nice touches of dynamic interactions and physics, the game turned out really well. I am not taking into thin air here, let me give you an example.
Look at the game Meddling Martians AR. Now this game is also quite empty but unlike AR Treasure Run, it takes place in a very small area, it sports some really cute little characters which you can even interact with. catching the bombs using the bucket felt better than just picking up items from the floor and it felt more physical and the bomb physics work so well in this game. There are also some really cool visual effect and great music and sound effect to wrap it all up.
I brought up this game to give a good example of a gameplay formula that is more immersive, more fun and designed very well for augmented reality.
I just want to add that according to the developer, the game isn’t completed just yet and they are thinking of adding a major update to improve the game.
AR Treasure Run is definitely not for lazy dudes. I actually spend more time with it than I planned to. I actually wanted to go for a 1-hour walk, but this game actually served as a good alternative.
I had some good time with it but there is certainly more work to be done to make it more attractive. I do appreciate the effort of making each level unique and it gave some feeling or progression.
Part of the game is fun, but the gameplay experience as whole felt quite lacking to be completely honest. That pirate world that was supposed to feel exciting and exotic felt dull in comparison with the happy, cheerful music that was playing in the background.
I think that with some more dynamic interactions, a rewarding achievement system, and some nice exotic characters to infuse more life into the AR environment, I think this game can be pretty good.