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Runner3 Review

Runner3 on Nintendo Switch

Choice Provision is widely known for their Bit.Trip series of games, which feature chip-tuned inspired soundtracks and rhythm-based gameplay. The Runner series has you playing as a guy named Commander Video who must slide, jump, kick, bounce, and dance his way to victory through multiple stages that, if you aren’t musically inclined, can get very very difficult, especially in Runner3. Playing through the three different “worlds” and 25 or so levels that the game had to offer wasn’t too much of a feat for me to conquer, but there were times when I just wanted to throw my Joy-Con across the room, but not because of faulted gameplay or technical glitches, but simply because every time I failed, I had known it was my fault and my fault alone.

Like the other Runner games before it, Runner3 slowly introduces you to all of the mechanics and moves that you will need to get to the end of the game. It starts you off a little slow, but before you know it, you will be doing all kinds of motions and activating switches without even thinking twice about it. Since Runner3 is all about the music and keeping in time with the beats, it can feel quite satisfying to be in the swing of things, gathering all of the collectibles and sliding under enemies just at the perfect time. But what happens occasionally, especially towards the later end of the game, is that when mechanics are introduced, it can take some trial and error to figure out what you need to do. I found myself dying a whole lot simply because I didn’t know what to do with a certain object or because the camera angle was slightly off, making it difficult for me to judge distances. It’s not that the dramatic camera shifts from side-scrolling to behind the shoulder aren’t exciting and rad, but sometimes it just doesn’t work and it causes me to die for no reason whatsoever, leaving me to start the level all over again.

Luckily, there is one checkpoint in every level in Runner3, which is usually placed in the halfway point of the stage, but, it typically took me a while to get to that checkpoint if the stage was unusually difficult. There were times where I had to play the beginning of a level over 30 times, which is not fun at all. Falling into a pattern of dying at the same spot over and over again was pretty frustrating which left me wanting an extra checkpoint.

Runner3_01.png

Getting to the end of Runner3 proved to be pretty difficult at some points, but once I got into the groove of things, it felt extremely rewarding to complete a hard level that continuously kicked my butt. Choice Provision also has a knack for distracting you while you’re trying to concentrate on what objects are coming towards you by throwing the most insane scenarios in the background of the stage. If you have a split second to notice what’s happening behind you, you will probably think that Commander Video is in some sort of trippy dream, because let me tell you, it felt like one of the designers had a little bit too much sugar or something – it’s a child’s nightmare.

Once I learned the ways of the Runner, I went back and tried out a few of the first stages again to try to nab all of the collectibles that the game has for you to collect. There are 100 gold pieces in every stage as well as 25 purple gems that appear in alternate paths. You can unlock new costumes for Commander Video as well as other playable characters like Shovel Knight, Eddie Riggs of Brutal Legend fame, and Charles Martinet, the narrator of the game that you might know as the guy who voices Mario. There’s a lot of reasons to go back and perfect all of the stages, adding in tons of replayability, and a way to show off your high score to your rivals or friends – whoever they are.

As a fan of other rhythm games on Switch such as Thumper and Voez, Runner3 definitely takes the cake as one of the best that the console has to offer. Choice Provisions has done something special with Runner3; it’s a game that might make you want to scream internally over and over again, but at the same time, will make you smile from ear to ear while jamming out when you finally overcome those pesky obstacles.

Score: 4/5 – Great


Pros

  • Addicting rhythm-based platforming at its best.
  • Extra challenges and unlockables provides loads of replayability.
  • Difficult stages feel super rewarding once you eventually beat them.

Cons

  • Checkpoint system can be inconvenient.
  • Hard to tell which obstacles are dangerous and which ones are safe to touch.

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