So I think we can all agree that 2016 was a pretty awful year, not just because of a whole heap of disappointing, unfulfilling triple A titles, but because the world kinda went arse over tit. I for one had grown tired of running away from all the scary things that transpired over the past 12 months, and longed for a world where my only concern was running across the earth collecting … I dunno, socks maybe, oh what a life I could lead. Shame it’s only a way of life for Gnomes apparently, but a boy can dream, or at least have a glimpse of what could be.
Geki Yaba Runner Deluxe is a brand new 2D running title releasing for the Nintendo 3DS and is available right now on the Nintendo store for less than a fiver. The premise is simple, run around your world to try and save the princess, whilst also collecting all the socks you can find in over 130 challenging, treacherous levels; you control a hapless bearded Gnome powered by an endless desire to run, jump glide and smash through obstacles, nothing more, nothing less. It’s certainly not the most original nor invigorating of games, but is that partly due to the game’s particular genre? Or is just a mere port of an average smartphone game? It may not be the best runner you can get your hands on, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.
In similar fashion to the Rayman smartphone games that have no doubt caused a few smashed screens over the years, Geki Yaba features an extensive collection of diabolically difficult levels that take a great deal of experience and understanding to complete. For a game of this nature, loading times can be a huge problem, especially if you’re fond of dying, so it’s bloody terrific that you restart from the nearest checkpoint at the blink of an eye. Too will you have to use your limited abilities with precision to complete all of each level’s objectives, like terminating your gliding in thin air may cause you to land on an unseen platform that is home to a rare golden sock. Completing these bonus objectives don’t unlock content nor reward you in the slightest, but it does add a little bit of replayability if you simply must complete everything. Levels aren’t always intricate and puzzling as sometimes a simple case of trial and error will see you eventually complete one, especially seeing as the landscape is a little too zoomed in and a little too quick, which, don’t get me wrong, makes for a fun and challenging running game, but it almost purposely puts you at a disadvantage. Each level looks quite ok and 3D is present throughout which brings a nice little touch to it, but the repetitive music and sock collecting tone will gradually grind away your sanity, so I’d recommend playing this game on mute and in 2d, you’ll enjoy it a hell of a lot more. The best feature in Geki Yaba is just a little one, it’s rather unique level skip option. If you’re pulling your hair out during a particular level, simply skip it … however don’t expect to skip another level further along the road, you can only do it once, so you’ll have to go back and complete said skipped level to get that ability back. This fantastic little ditty makes for a much more challenging game, especially once the difficulty ramps up, so once it gets going it’ll certainly separate the gnomes from the dwarves.
Geki Yaba Runner Deluxe may be simple and unoriginal in every way possible, however it isn’t actually a bad game. Sure there are much better titles available offering better level design and narrative, but for the price and huge collection of levels you get for it, it’s certainly worth having a crack at. It’s challenging and very easy to pick up and play, appealing to fans of the genre no matter the level of ability. It’s level skip is unique and offers another degree of difficulty to the 100+ level map, but it’s a tremendous shame that completing the optional objectives comes with no reward or incentive at all. As far as Running/Platformer games go, Geki Yaba Runner Deluxe certainly has some things going for it, though as pint sized as they may be, it could rock the socks off those that think they’re in for a mere run in the park.
Reviewed on the Nintendo 3DS