Version Tested: Wii U
Available On: Wii U
Developer: 13AM Games
Publisher: 13AM Games
Genre: Platform, racing
Official Site: http://runbowgame.com/
Release Date: August 27, 2015
Where to Buy: Wii U eShop
At first glance Runbow seems like your typical run of the mill side scrolling platformer. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. While the game was influenced from side scrolling platforms of old that ushered in an era of gaming, Runbow adds a never used before mechanic, changing colors. The changing colors add an extra puzzle element to the gameplay. For example, within a few seconds of starting the level you notice the background color change frequently. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize that certain platforms or obstacles appear and disappear depending on the matching background color. The disappearing and reappearing platforms can cause anything from death to bring trapped only for a moment.
The primary objective of any level in Runbow is to fulfill the predetermined requirement to complete the level and earn completion medals. Most levels will have you run from one end to the other, making sure to survive along the way, within a set time frame. If you don’t survive the rush from one side to the other you will have to start the level over from the beginning with your timer at zero.
One of the most entertaining aspects of Runbow is actually what happens when you die. A skull and crossbones shows up and gives witty insults such as “You should see the hard levels” or “More go, less no.” Even though you will see the message a lot as you die, there are plenty of quotes guaranteed to make for few repeats during the first few hours of gameplay.
As with any multiplayer party game, Runbow shines during multiplayer modes. Thanks to the Wii U’s ability to connect so many different devices to the controller, you can have up to nine people playing at one time. One game pad player, four Wii-motes, and four added peripheral devices, which can consist of nun-chucks and classic controllers. Even two players can create chaos on the adventure mode levels. Unlike other side scrolling platforms Runbow implements every player for themselves. While you can be good and wait for the other players to catch up with you, it serves no advantage for you. Some levels even implement leaving the other players behind and they couldn’t be more competitive.
Runbow further expands on being built for multiplayer in the fact that there is no single player only mode, but there are several multiplayer only modes. Tired of running from one end to the other? Head over to the arena and try to survive the gauntlet and kill everyone else. Gameplay for the arena is reminiscent of Super Smash Bros. but without the different items and power ups. The more players you have the more chaos you create.
Not feeling the arena, try King of the Hill, where the point of the game is not to survive, but instead, stay in a designated zone for a combined total of ten seconds. Don’t be fooled by the description, maintaining your location isn’t easy. When you have one to eight other people vying to stand their ground, competition runs fierce. That’s without taking into account that each level also comes with its own hazards, such as a moving goal, or the level flipping upside down and introducing new gravity mechanics.
Maybe you want to feel like playing God, there’s a mode for that too. Colour Master enables the player using the game pad to control the colors on the screen. If you’re like me, you enjoy making your friends have a difficult time navigating through the screen and falling to their deaths. Your goal as the Colour Master is to make all the other players die, while theirs is to reach the trophy at the end of the level.
The hardest mode in the entire game is the Bowhemoth. In the scene prior to starting the mode you watch as a dinosaur swallows your chosen character into its stomach. Your goal is to navigate each of the levels as quickly as you can and without dying. In the upper corner of the screen you watch your time and your death count. As you pass a room you don’t have to do that room again, which is a great accomplishment, except that your progress isn’t saved. Your Bowhemoth progress is all or nothing. It leaves a challenge only the most serious players will try to accept. To those individuals, I bid you good luck. You’ll need it.
One area in Runbow that is both a great feat and a pitfall is the character selection. When you start the game you are presented with various characters of different colors and costumes you can put on them. As you play the game and unlock achievements you unlock more characters and customization options. The characters you unlock can’t be customized in any way. While you do unlock a ton of characters as you progress through the game, it feels unfair to be able to customize some characters, but not others.
Runbow is a party platformer sure to make for repeated hours of fun in every mode possible. Adventure mode levels vary in difficulty, at times even the easy levels are challenging. Boss levels bring their own level of insanity and finally being able to beat the level brings a sense of satisfaction I haven’t felt in a long time. While a game being priced at $14.99 on the eShop can seem a bit steep, Runbow promises hours of fun that even some major studio released games lack. If you are looking for a cheap party game that’s enjoyable and provides a lot of replay value, look no further than Runbow.
- Gameplay: The traditional side scrolling platformer with added elements of puzzles and racing is a fun and refreshing twist on a genre that can be stagnant.
- Graphics: The sixties art style graphics are simple, yet rich and immersive in color.
- Sound: The music style reminiscent of salsa music is a great addition and helps to gauge the pace the level you are entering will have.
- Presentation: Runbow is created by a team of Nintendo loyalists and it shows. Plenty of inspiration was pulled from Nintendo genres, but enough new ideas and content were created to keep the game from becoming stale.
- Replay value
- Character customization
- Emphasis on multiplayer
- Difficulty can be intense for some
- Not every character can be customized
- Can't access CPU players for multiplayer levels