Nostalgia returns to us on PS4 with a sexy old soundtrack
It’s always nice to mix things up a little because as of late I’ve been playing so much of The Witcher 3 that I’m afraid that when in public I might just snap and start attacking people with branches thinking they’re alghouls. The nerd inside me though is now commenting that I’d die because you can only really fight alghouls with the axii sign, so now I have to go and beat him with a branch and I think by now I’ve just lost about 95% of any audience I had in the first place.
Bit.Trip Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, which is an absolutely nightmare to type so from now on will be known as Runner2. It’s a welcome change as of lately I’ve been wandering around too many swamps so it’s nice to play something which is a bit more cheery and is a relatively (and I don’t use this word lightly) happy game.
Runner2 is the new (or old) 2D sidescroller, PlayStation 4 release by Gaijin games, which came out back on February 24th but if you’ve been paying attention you’ll probably know that the game was released on other platforms back in 2013. Since that time it’s had more positive reviews than myself at an open bar so now it’s decided to head on over to the ‘big boy club’ and break through on a new console.
I’ll start (4 paragraphs in) by saying that Runner2 is quite possibly one of the most frustratingly addictive games that I’ve played in some time. You play as a little pixelated character running across the screen and the real object of the game is fairly simple; to get from the left to the right side of the screen whilst dodging hazardous objects and collecting more gold than an American mobster. The only downside is that your constantly running and there’s a truck load of hazards waiting for you so the game can be downright difficult sometimes and if you haven’t turned it off within playing the first full stage then I will take my metaphorical hat off to you.
The story leaves much to be desired, there’s a few bits and bobs but the long and short of it is that Commander Video has gotten himself trapped somewhere and now he’s running around kicking fences. It’s not much to go on but the game isn’t really story based anyway so we can forgive it. Any story that you are exposed too though is pretty funny, it’s based all around being humorous rather than dramatic and long winded, so as far as story goes it doesn’t really fulfil the actual storyline but it does do a fantastic job in adding to it’s hilarity.
As you progress through the levels there’s some new ‘skills’ that you learn. I say skills but they’re not really skills, more new buttons to press to help you overcome new obstacles. For instance about 7 or 8 levels into the game you’ll learn how to slide, which whilst great because you can now pretend your character is absolutely hammered, means that you now need to use that slide button every 3 seconds for the rest of your life. As I said before, it’s a frustrating game, you really do have to be prepared to die a lot, especially with the mass amount of deathly objects to jump, glide slide and bounce over, but this does not by any means make it a bad game, if anything it makes it a good game. It’s ridiculously addictive and will force you to complete it, so if you plan to beat it I’d strongly recommend brewing a fresh pot of coffee.
Luckily there’s a few things to help you on the way. About halfway through each of the stages you’ll hit a checkpoint, after which you can throw your pretty little self off into every death trap you can see and be respawned at your now most popular destination. You can also change the difficulty of the game from the main menu to make the game easier or harder, just incase you feel a little sadistic and have a grudge on the lifespan of Captain Video.
The layout of the game is divided into 5 different worlds, each with it’s own theme and each one of those worlds consists of 14 areas which prove pretty challenging. The layout and design of each of those stages is just gorgeous and it gives the game a lovely feel when racing through some truly breathtaking scenery. The graphics of the game really are to be admired and there isn’t a single object that doesn’t look good.
During your race to the end, or in my case, your race to the end of your life. You’re given a few challenges along the way to keep you company. In all of the levels you’re main aims are to collect all of the gold bars, all of the (what I can only assume) plus signs and if you manage both of those then you will be greeted with a cannon at the end of the map, which you will then be fired out of to try and hit a bullseye target and get bonus points. That’s not all though, some of the levels contain other collectables in the form of treasure chests with offer rewards, new characters and some other lovely bits, so there’s a lot to keep you occupied. In some situations though you’ll have to grab a key which can only be unlocked by completing the key vault level, so be prepared to backtrack through some of the levels a little bit.
The real point where the game starts to shine is the music. Although Runner2 is a 2D sidescroller it also boasts an enjoyable audio experience. The real charm of this comes from exactly what the game says it is, bit runner. It’s a real nostalgia trip and when you move past what you actually need to do in the game and begin to phase out (which you will eventually do) you’ll begin to notice that those bars of gold you’re collecting make some pretty nice music, music which contributes the BGM to create an awesome bit style soundtrack that the player writes with their actions. It’s clearly taken a lot of time and development to shape the game and it pays off by creating a fantastic gameplay experience.
The game does a great job in being completely off the wall and quirky. From it’s completely insane story line and nostalgic sound to stepping onto some kind of box and entering an 1970’s arcade version of itself, the game just never seems to give up on being completely random and weird but those are the reasons for you to love it and keep playing, you just never know what the game will throw at you next.
My only criticism of the game comes in the form of it’s repetitiveness. Whilst the music is great, the background music on the majority of levels per stage is identical (apart from the sound effects) and the backgrounds are always the same. It’s not a particularly huge deal but it would be nice to see a bit of mix up in the levels. Naturally the obstacles that you face will change slightly in terms of deadliness, but it just doesn’t feel like enough to keep you guessing what’s coming next. Really though, the game doesn’t intend to do that and has no reason too. It wasn’t designed for that purpose so it’s not expected to keep you guessing.
I feel like I’ve blessed you with enough of my sweet, sweet type so I’ll be summing the game up now. In short the game is good, enjoyable, funny, nostalgic, entertaining and a great experience. In long the game is gooooooooooddddd, enjjjjooooo… Okay I’ve made my point. The game is everything it says it, nothing more and nothing less. It’s frustrating, quirky and downright strange but those are the reasons why you’ll love it. Whilst the repetitiveness of it can be it’s one downfall, don’t let it discourage an otherwise brilliant experience.