Cookie Run is a series of adorable endless running sidescroller games for mobile platforms by the South Korean company Devsisters. One of those games is accessible with a Kakao chat service account in its native South Korea, or internationally, on LINE available in multiple languages. Both were preceded by an even earlier game called Ovenbreak. In all three games, you play as a gingerbread man cookie (accompanied by their pet in later games) who escapes from the Witch's oven to return home. As of the addition of episodes, in episode 2 onward the cookies run to find a new place to call their own. The Cookies find their kingdom destroyed in episode 2, Primeval Jungle. They continued on through episode 3, Dragon's Valley, and episode 4, City of Wizards. The game reached episode 5, Dessert Paradise, where the cookies finally seemed to have a nice place to stay (though like the other episodes, the run goes on endlessly until the cookie runs out of energy).
In October 2016, it was succeeded by Cookie Run: Ovenbreak, which introduced multiple new cookies and began to prioritize PVP play more than the first game. Afterwards, LINE Cookie Run ceased updating; it was shut down for good on June 5th, 2018. However, the successor continues to get updates, with new content and characters monthly. A tower defense spinoff was soon revealed, titled Cookie Wars.
While it has earned itself a rapidly growing, hugely diverse fanbase worldwide, it is still most popular in its homeland South Korea judging from their follower count on Twitter, having its own different comic continuities, gorgeous fanart and cosplays, as well as its own merchandise store website (domain not available as of January 1, 2017). Not bad for a game about super-speedy running confections!
Story and Setting
- Anthropomorphic Food: All the characters are living gingerbread people. (except Space Doughnut, of course.)
- Crapsaccharine World: The entire world may be made of nothing but dessert and sweet food, but it's not without its enemies and traps.
- Edible Theme Naming: Justified, given that they're literally food. Because of this, the flavor-named cookies may be defined as A Dog Named "Dog".
- Excuse Plot: While the original LINE Cookie Run at least had a bit more substance with the cookies trying to find a new home (and "story arcs", considering the Wrath of the Dragon), Ovenbreak has multiple doses in the Isle of Memory plots and as a whole has discarded the original You Can't Go Home Again aspect in favor of PVP.
- Level Ate: Most of the games are this.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There are 96 cookies currently available in Ovenbreak, and 13 still exclusive to LINE, the former having additional characters being constantly released in monthly updates.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Each and every cookie has their own unique design, dialogue, and abilities.
- Background Music Override: The final parts of each episode have unique music. On a character level, Rockstar and Mint Choco, who hilariously even deny the aforementioned music shift a few seconds later so long as they are the active runner.
- In Ovenbreak, the background music for each land depends on the surroundings.
- Character Level: Individual cookies have grades, and themselves have levels from the default 1 to the maximum 8, giving them more energy and powering up their ability.
- In Ovenbreak, it is slightly different: the maximum level depends on the class of the Cookies.
- Collision Damage: A Cookie gets hurt whenever they get hit by an enemy.
- Direct Continuous Levels: Aside from episodes, levels have multiple areas and scenery changes.
- Double Jump: The default, except while playing Ninja whose specialty is extra jumps.
- Edible Collectible: Jellies.
- End Game Results Screen: After a Cookie's run ends, a screen is shown displaying points earned, total points for that episode, and coins collected.
- Endless Running Game
- Experience Points: Used to raise player level, not the cookies', and is interestingly only measured by amount of time running (LCR) or severity of the point-earning task performed (Ovenbreak), not score or other factors.
- Follow the Money: Collectables are used to indicate when to slide or jump to avoid getting hit, particularly when it comes to moving obstacles.
- Informed Equipment: You can equip three treasures at once to increase a cookie's attributes, but they don't show up on the Cookie when running.
- Life Meter: The Cookies have one, which indicates how much longer they can run. It decays over time, and is depleted by larger chunks on collision with an obstacle.
- Micro Transactions: Crystals are the premium currency in the game and lives and keys can also be bought with real money, though the game thankfully provides many opportunities to get them without spending. The only thing that crystals provide that normal coins cannot are a rescue from a hole, early access to cookies whose unlock conditions have not yet been met, or the chance to "bless" evolved treasures so they have bigger buffs than normal.
- In Ovenbreak, crystals can be used to restore stamina (for Cookies that have no runs remaining), rescue Cookies from holes (if the player has no Rescue Tickets), buy gacha keys, purchase Magic Ingredients, and redo Breakout runs. On top of that, there's another premium currency in the form of Rainbow Cubes, which are used only for Cookie costumes.
- Money Sink: Most commonly in the form of treasure upgrade or evolution attempts in LINE Cookie Run, and Magic Candy attempts in Ovenbreak, whose failure rate can get disheartening for many players.
- Play Every Day: Log-in bonuses are commonly granted, while others are accounted for by number of runs or score amount.
- Power Creep: A problem some people have pointed out has happened with later Cookies. The Complacent Gaming Syndrome roster tends to change every few waves due to each cookie having slightly higher score potential than the last one, leading to older cookies being ignored entirely and newer cookies dominating the scoreboard before being unable to even try and compete after a few updates. Devsisters has tried to remedy this with buffs for older cookies, though.
- Power-Up Magnet: Angel Cookie and their treasure, Fairy Cookie, and Lemon Cookie all have magnet abilities, and many other Cookies have temporary magnetism when using their abilities. There are also multiple treasures in both games that grant magnetic effects (though those effects are either weaker or temporary).
- Random Drop: Ingredients for treasure evolution (LINE) or Magic Candy creation (Ovenbreak).
- Scoring Points: The main goal of the game: different jellies give different point values, and different Cookies have abilities that increase their scoring potential in certain situations (producing more pick ups, reviving to run longer, getting points for destroying obstacles or jumping, etc)
- Sprint Shoes: Multiple treasure items allow a boost to overall movement speed, or just to blasts. In Ovenbreak, there are only two Treasures that do this: the Lollipop Skates, and the X-tra Hot Turbo Engine.
- Temporary Platform: Some flooring gives the impression of this, but there isn't actual threat of falling since you are never still to begin with.
- Unlockable Content: The cookies are provided unlock conditions of different kinds, though the player can forego this if they feel like spending Crystals, or cash for some items in the case of Cookie Run: Ovenbreak, to skip the work.
- Everything's Better with Plushies: Several Cookies, mostly the earlier Cookies, have plushies available for purchase. Unfortunately, after the Cookie Run Mall ended service in 2017, only a few of those plushies are for sale in selected Korean online stores, such as this one.
- Video Game Jump Physics: Everybody gets a Double Jump, except for Ninja, who has infinite jumps. Some treasures and Magic Candy Blessings in Ovenbreak give the Cookie one extra jump.
Story and Setting
- Backstory Horror: The very fact that their kingdom was destroyed and are now empty ruins is one thing, that Brave saw other sentient gingerbread men get eaten is another. Episode 4 is also a beautiful but empty city.
- Clock Tower: In the City of Wizards. When you go in it, the music even becomes quieter as a nice touch.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Presumably. Story-wise, the cookies seem to have endured the Wrath of the Dragon and made it to the Dessert Paradise, finally finding a new home.
- Edible Treasure
- Escape Sequence: Episode 1, in narrative anyway. Initially, Cookie Run's subtitle was even "Sweet Escape Adventure".
- Hidden Elf Village: The masked inhabitants of the Pineapple Village.
- Volcano Lair: Episode 3, which houses Fire Spirit Cookie and dragons.
- Achievement System: Unlike many examples, is not completion-related because the next requirement only continually grows before eventually looping. Cookie Run practices something akin to the Every 10000 Points or other conditions for various small rewards.
- Equipment Upgrade: Certain treasures are able to be evolved if one has the right ingredients, and others can even enter another grade category.
- Experience Booster: The Double EXP boost, and certain treasures.
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: The Legendary Cookies and Ginger Claus.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: Though, your inventory can be made bigger with 15 spaces per expansion using Crystals.
- Joke Item: The April Fools 2015 cookie cutter treasure—which shrinks your cookie. You'll really be using it for laughs more than any serious scoring intent.
- Meaningless Lives: If you have a sizable friendlist, you never have to worry about waiting for lives to regenerate. Even normally, they only take 5 minutes to restore one life—and these take into account when you do a run. So you'll be waiting less than five minutes.
- Money Multiplier: The Gold Coins and Double Coins boosts.
- Vendor Trash: Buttercream Choco's White Day coins, explicitly mentioned to be investments which you can sell for a lot of money. Also, the Magic Stone Ornament which currently do not contribute as components for any treasure evolution.
Story and Setting
- Story Breadcrumbs: While the game still preaches the Excuse Plot through and through, updates, stages, and events still tell some semblance of a story arc.
- The buff of Pirate Cookie, followed by the Isle of Treasure and Squid Ink Cookie, tell through the backgrounds and other quotes that Pirate Cookie and Salt Cookie were sailing until their ship was attacked by Squid Ink in a fit of hunger.
- As of writing, the Millenium Tree has been corrupted by a force (implied to be Dark Enchantress Cookie), orchestrated by Pomegranate Cookie, and Wind Archer Cookie seems to have been to corrupted in the process as well.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Any Cookie featured in Island of Memories (or just as an addition) after completing the Invitation Event requirements.
- But Thou Must!:
- In the game's intro, pressing the "Bake and Eat" button will result in Gingerbrave voicing his displeasure until you press the "Escape" button.
- A similar thing happens when you first enter Land 8. Doughnut Ball Fairy will tell you that you're pressing the wrong button if you choose to disagree with their rules.
- Cooldown: Each Cookie gets a number of runs remaining before they become tired. The number of runs has dramatically changed since the first release; the current number of runs for each Cookie is 10, with the exception of GingerBrave, GingerBright, Cheesecake, and Mint Choco; the former two get 15 runs, Cheesecake gets 2 runs (with a 16-hour cooldown time), and Mint Choco gets 4 (with the same cooldown time as Cheesecake). This is due to the fact that GingerBrave and GingerBright are starting cookies that the player gets automatically, and Cheesecake and Mint Choco are coin-collecting Cookies.
- Cosmetic Award: The Quest Badges after every quest of a certain Cookie was completed. They served no purpose other than to prove that a player had completed all quests.
- Crossover: After a long time without any crossovers since the LINE version's inclusion of LINE mascots Brown and Cony appearing as pets, Ovenbreak's first crossover is with Hello Kitty. No, this is not a joke. Kitty and Mimmy (the latter is notorious for being Demoted to Extra in official Sanrio content) were limited-time "Special" Cookies that had an event starting from December 29.
- Nerf: A lot of cookies returning from LCR had their abilities changed or downgraded, though given the game's increased focus on PvP and a level playing field, these aren't necessarily bad.
- Since experience points aren't earned from races here, GingerBright's ability was changed to the occasional production of Candy Jelly.
- Cheese Drop's priority is creating Pink Bear Jellies, and as a result it picks up missed Jellies much less efficiently. Also, it can no longer pick up Devil's Spirit Jellies.
- Cookies with abilities related to Bonus Time in general had those aspects removed or changed especially. Strawberry Cookie now spends the same amount of time in Bonus Time as every other Cookie, and had her pet changed to Pocket Strawberry, which produces Pixel Potions instead of increasing speed in Bonus Time.
- Zombie Cookie revives much less often, though upgrades do increase the energy he revives with.
- Princess Cookie now takes the same amount of damage from obstacles as other Cookies, her ability being changed to creating Pink Heart Jellies.
- Muscle Cookie's ability is now to destroy obstacles by throwing a kettle bell, as opposed to having a chance to ignore hitting an obstacle.
- Alchemist Cookie has a different set of alchemy abilities, both of which involve Bear Jellies; her other abilities have been removed. In addition, she only has one pet with which she gets a Combi Bonus, and it doesn't increase score or coins.
- Orange Cookie now has to collect the tennis balls she smashes with, as opposed to smashing automatically with each double jump.
- Pancake Cookie's ability now takes much longer to charge, resulting in fewer flights per run.
- Moon Rabbit's ability now takes twice as long to charge up, and her ability to create Honey Rice Cake Jellies by jumping has been relegated to Magic Candy power.
- Kiwi Cookie has fewer Kiwi Fuel Jellies appear during his motorcycle ride.
- Macaron now has to collect her macaron animals in order to start the Macaron Parade. Additionally, her Castanets pet now creates fewer Macaron Jellies with its activation.
- Cream Puff Cookie's big magic tricks now happen at random, rather than after a certain number of small magic tricks.
- Furball Pup can only revive the main Cookie and Relay Cookie one time, as opposed to multiple times.
- There is now a slight delay between Tiger Lily Cookie picking up the spear and her throwing it.
- Moonlight Cookie no longer recovers energy after her sleep.
- Fire Spirit Cookie's ability is no longer reviving after running out of energy.
- Revenue-Enhancing Devices: Includes package deals and costumes (in which their currency is obtained by buying 1+1+1 Exclusive Deals with cash).
- Cheaters Never Prosper: In a meta sense, after the Fan Art Contest results were announced. Artworks with abnormally huge amount of likes got this treatment, with some of these artworks not even making it to the top 100.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: Multiple BGMs use this, including:
- Land 5 Theme
- Angel Cookie's Trial Theme
- Last stage of Arena 5 of Champions League prior to its revamp