That’s a mouthful.
It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any games. That’s mostly because it’s been a while since I’ve actually finished any games. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is pretty much the only game I’ve been playing, and I probably won’t be done with it for quite some time. But I played this game every now and then until I finally just beat it.
Runner2 is the sequel to Gaijin Games’ BIT.TRIP Runner, part of their successful and critically acclaimed BIT.TRIP franchise. I played the original and loved it for its retro graphics, catchy music, and grueling difficulty. There are a lot of auto-runners out there, especially for mobile, but this one is definitely the best I have ever played.
Everything about the original has been improved upon and expanded in this game. The graphics are no longer pixelated–now it is all 3D models, and it looks weird and great. However like in the original, it can sometimes be hard to focus on your character with all the crazy things happening in the background. Everything is so bright and colorful that it can be distracting and make you lose track of where you are. And in a game like this, timing is everything, so once you lose track of your character, you’re toast.
The music is again excellent–every jump and slide is perfectly synchronized to it, so even if you can’t quite focus on your character, you can simply time your button presses to the music. The soundtrack is definitely worth a download so you can add it to your pump-up or workout playlist.
The story, as usual, is nothing special, but with Charles Martinet as the narrator the story could be about teen wolves and I would still listen. But the story doesn’t really matter–what matters here is the game play, which remains as addicting and fun as it was in the original, while adding a bunch of new mechanics to keep things fresh. Things such as slide-jumping, dancing, and more are introduced one by one, at a good pace that allows you to learn and master them quickly. The game play really never feels stale, and that is something that not many games achieve.
There are also a ton more levels in this game, 100 in all. Many levels branch off into two paths, one easy and one hard, the hard one usually yielding a treasure containing a new character skin. So the more hardcore players can work harder to get these extras, while the more casual players can still enjoy the game. (But trust me, you’re going to want to take the hard routes. They’re much more fun.)
Usually I don’t like hard games. I get frustrated easily, so I often will set the game difficulty to easy, and ignore many of the collectibles. But for some reason, this game is so much more fun when you try to collect everything and choose the hardest paths. Maybe it’s because the penalty for failure is much more lenient than it was in the original: now there are checkpoints which make this game much more do-able and less frustrating.
Runner2, with its myriad of collectibles, achievements, levels, and mechanics, is perhaps the best auto-runner out there, certainly the best I’ve ever played. It is as fun and addicting as ever, a thrilling roller-coaster ride that doesn’t let up from start to finish.