The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Gaijin Games’ six-game Bit.Trip series on WiiWare (and later on PC
and 3DS) has a certain reputation for old-school looks and challenge.
Bit.Trip Runner was one of the standout entries, but it still punished
those who didn’t have the best reflexes. With Runner2, the first direct
Bit.Trip sequel, Gaijin has pulled out all the stops to make a game that
anyone can love, regardless of skill level.
Just like before,
hero Commandervideo automatically hustles forward while you control
jumping, sliding, kicks, and shields so as not to hit anything in the
environment. A trail of gold bars and red score-boost powerups gives
players something to collect while attempting to survive. The difficulty
and complexity is expertly paced throughout the whole quest, with new
moves and environments constantly keeping things fresh. You still fail
with one misplaced jump, but the new checkpoints and flexible difficulty
toggling lessens the frustration tenfold. Hardcore players looking for
the ultimate challenge can simply crank it up to “Rather Hard” and score
a point bonus for refusing checkpoints.
The visual presentation
has received a drastic overhaul. Cutscenes now resemble classic cartoons
with a more kooky story than the spaced out, vague entries of the past.
The number of levels has more than tripled, pushing over 100, and
stages are now grouped into appealing themed world maps resembling Super
Mario Bros. 3. Each stage contains plenty to keep you coming back
(including alternate paths and secret exits) and this format makes it
easy to return to clean up.
If you collect all the standard
pickups in a level, you’ll earn a Perfect rating and get to shoot the
good Commander out of a cannon at a massive dart board for bonus points
(online leaderboards are supported). If you score a bullseye, you’ll
earn a Perfect Plus. Truly dedicated fans won’t be able to rest until
every stage is marked up with this rating for all three difficulties.
You also hunt for keys, treasure chests, and Famicom carts to unlock new
costumes and special retro pixelated levels.
campaign, you naturally unlock new characters as well, who all have
their own strange and silly animated personalities (Reverse Merman
stands out for an obvious reason). Even though Runner2 is a
single-player game, it’s fun to trade off levels with a friend simply to
appreciate the finer details, like the different way every character
dances or when bigfoot lumbers into the background. You just can’t
absorb this stuff when you’re laser-focused on sweet, sweet survival.
PlatformsRunner2 appears on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. Our primary review platform was PC due to availability. As the other versions become available we'll post separate reviews if there are any major discrepancies. Otherwise, consider this our definitive review.
[Watch our Runner2 Test Chamber now to see the game in action.]
Email the author Bryan Vore, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.