Gameplay in Run Roo Run is simplistic in control. Since the game employs auto-run, the player controls Roo only in the character’s jumping movements. While a platform game, Run Roo Run is unique in that it is not a side-scrolling video game. Each level is simply a single screen that introduces new elements of complexity. Each chapter of the game consists of several levels, in which different grades can be achieved depending on the time a player takes to complete each level. A completed chapter represents a move East on the map, and an “Extreme” set of levels are unlocked for each chapter.
After playing the game Flash Space is Key by independent developer Chris Jeff, director Jeremiah Slaczka gained inspiration for creating a new video game. Slaczka conceived of the game’s basic concept several months prior to game development. Official development for Run Roo Run began in September 2011. It was originally meant to be a much smaller project for 5th Cell, with only six weeks of projected development time. However, an additional three months was necessary to complete the game as it became larger-scale.
The game was released worldwide on January 12, 2012 as an exclusive iOS title. The game marks 5th Cell’s first new game series since Scribblenauts was released, and is 5th Cell’s first self-published title.
IGN’s Justin Davis praised Run Roo Run ’s gameplay, noting that “the bite-sized nature of each stage is genius.” When discussing the overall game, he stated that “Run Roo Run looks, sounds and plays great.” However, video game magazine Edge gave the game a mixed review; “It’s becoming a 5th Cell tradition: strong ideas compromised by erratic level design and structural weaknesses. One day, the developer will find the right balance to support its undeniable creativity, but sadly, it hasn’t found it here.”
1UP.com’s Chris Pereira stated “the music does become grating as you play (if you play for long enough in one sitting), and the standard levels can be too easy and ask too little of you at times. But the game is made so well for the platform — you can pick it up, play a level, and go back to what you were doing 30 seconds later, or sit there for an hour — that it’s not difficult to look past those issues.”