It is a truth universally acknowledged that an endless runner in search of a good fortune, must be in want of a gimmick.
Stride & Prejudice certainly has a gimmick, and as ideas go it’s not actually a bad one: Marketing itself under the label Education, it’s an endless runner where the world is entirely made up of prose. In essence, you don’t so much play it as you do read a work of classic British literature, only one where sentences are broken up into platforms being traversed by an 8-bit Elizabeth Bennet and accompanied by a nifty chiptune soundtrack.
If you’ve played any side-scrolling endless runner before, you’ll be right at home with the controls – tap the screen to jump. Elizabeth runs forward automatically, so your only input is to help her bound over the breaks in the text on her journey towards “THE END”. There’s no additional gimmicks like special moves; it’s just you, the iPad, and the prose.
This stripped-down approach extends to the visuals, with no background graphics and only two different modes – Survival challenges you to see how far you can get through the novel in a single sitting (with a rating given upon “death” via a percentage score and a little rating taking its form directly from the book), while Reader Mode provides you with unlimited lives, respawning your avatar if you happen to become so engrossed in the story that you fail to tap the screen. Meanwhile, you can adjust the scrolling speed of the text if, like me, you find your eyes feeling the strain under the default speed which has the effect of slightly blurring the text. You can also choose between 3 different colored backgrounds – white (the default), black and the more eye-friendly Sepia tint.
This economy of design does of course mean that your time with the game will ultimately depend on your love of Jane Austen and how quickly you tire of the gimmick; this is unlikely to be something you return to time and time again other than to show off how discerning you are to friends. But I certainly recommend giving it a try, if only to experience it.
It’s often lamented that in our current era of technology Children are giving up on old-fashioned pursuits like reading, particularly when it comes the classics. At just 69p, I can think of no better way to educate your kids while also giving it to them in a form they can enjoy.
The game’s creator, Carla Engelbrecht Fisher (developing under the name No Crusts Interactive), has said she doesn’t know whether or not she will convert other books to the format. I hope she does – I have a copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace sitting on my shelf which I’ve been so intimidated by for years that I’ve never progressed further than the first chapter. I look forward with hope to downloading War and Paces from the App store.