A Mario platformer where you don’t have any directional control over Mario himself might sound like heresy, but Nintendo has found a way to work layers of depth into Super Mario Run.
Alto’s Odyssey is a stunning endless skier that has you leaping and flipping down a vast mountain. There’s nothing original about it, but auto-runners don’t come any more polished or satisfying than this.
Badland helped put the tap-to-fly mechanic on the mobile map, and this sequel improves upon it in every way. Few other auto-runners can match the silhouetted majesty of its fantasy world.
Rayman’s mobile games have given a huge jolt to the auto-runner genre, showing that simple gameplay needn’t preclude console-standard refinement.
Chameleon Run combines slick 2D auto-runner gameplay with chunky 3D graphics, resulting in a truly tactile experience.
Alone is a super-stylish endless flier that sees your doomed space shuttle crashing through a crumbling cave system. It’s pretty brutal.
Punch Quest takes the traditional auto-runner and then mixes in some retro scrolling beat-’em-up magic. It’s a wonderful combination.
Classy one-tap platforming with sharp retro visuals and a number of clever twists on the familiar formula.
Nitrome takes the auto-runner and does what Nitrome does with things – makes them tighter, more colourful, and more challenging than normal.
A brilliant, twitchy arcade masterpiece that takes the 3D endless runner to new heights.
A decidedly unusual 3D auto-runner that adds a schlocky horror vibe to this typically chirpy genre. There’s a swing-based control system that lifts the game a further notch above the ordinary.
Ava Airborne attempts to give you everything in one auto runner package – and pretty much succeeds. Packed full of content, it’s very difficult indeed to grow bored of Ava Airborne.
An undisputed endless runner classic from the early days of the Google Play Store. Jetpack Joyride’s tactile, surprisingly varied gameplay is still going strong.
A game that ingeniously takes the familiar maze-running premise of Pac-Man and applies it to a modern endless runner framework.
Into The Dead 2 pulls the auto-runner genre kicking and screaming into first person, as you run for your life through fields of the undead. Eek!
Glitch Dash is a first person auto-runner with finely crafted, devilishly challenging levels and a slick abstract art style.
Think of Ski Safari as a brighter, bouncier, sillier Alto’s Adventure. No, it’s not as good. But any game that lets you ski on the back of a penguin is alright with us.
This starkly minimalist first person auto-runner has you dashing and bounding through wireframe landscapes. It’s stomach-lurchingly immersive.
Hyperburner is an auto-runner that stirs in elements of sci-fi flight sims and futuristic racers. It feels pretty darned epic, all in all.
The game that kicked off a new kind of auto-runner, Crossy Road combines tappy gameplay with adorably blocky graphics and loads of unlockable characters.
Combining elements of the auto-runner with a futuristic racer, Race The Sun offers a strikingly beautiful art style and an exhilarating sensation of speed.
Dragon Hills 2 is like an inverse Tiny Wings, but with oodles of gleeful destruction. One of the most empowering auto-runners on the App Store.
Plenty of games have copied Temple Run’s 3D auto-runner gameplay, but few have pulled it off with as much style and polish as Agent Dash.
The sequel to the daddy of 3D auto-runners isn’t as fresh or as game-changing as the original – how could it be? – but it is a very polished example of the format.