Thursday, July 5

Review: Runbow [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Platforming games and Nintendo consoles are two things that simply feel fundamentally meant to be together. While the classic Mario style is unmistakable, and obviously quite popular, the great thing is that the genre is a versatile one and capable of offering quite a bit of variety. Enter Runbow, a very colorful and maddening platforming experience that can be enjoyed via a disgusting amount of single-player content, or against up to 7 other people locally or 8 online! Running, punching, and jumping your way through ever-changing levels you’ll need to keep your wits about you or you’ll end up knocking yourself out.

Starting with the single-player options you’ll be able to choose between the main Adventure-style mode and the almost roguelike-in-its-cruelty Bowhemoth mode. In the normal mode you’ll work stage by stage to complete over 140 different challenges, whether trying to get a trophy in a short amount of time, knocking out enemies, or taking on the villainous Satura. Success here will have you unlocking rewards along the way for your efforts including different outfits and even a variety of indie characters to add to your collection. If you’re ready for a far meatier challenge the Bowhemoth mode will test your Runbow platforming skills to their limit as you need to clear room after room of difficult platforming and there’s no saving your progress so it’s all for keeps.

Multiplayer is really where the game shines the brightest and much like Smash Bros for most people the crazier things get the more fun they tend to be. Across 3 different modes: Run, Arena, and King of the Hill, you’ll be working to outlast your enemies through careful running, watching out for power-ups, and simply being a bastard to other people sometimes. The only rule is that there are no rules and showing mercy only tends to bite you in the ass later so take those opportunities when you get them.

While the sheer volume of content for both single and multiplayer fun is impressive that isn’t to say everything is perfect. At times getting stuck on edges can be a frustration, usually requiring that you perform a powered attack to get yourself out of a jam. The thing is, when every second counts the fact this happens can be a bummer sometimes. While online play is certainly viable I found its overall responsiveness to be on the dodgy side at times. With so much double-jumping and using powered attacks to save yourself going on even a moment’s hesitation means you’ll be going down. It wasn’t a constant problem but it happened enough to be aggravating. Certainly local multiplayer is the most ideal for a variety of reasons but if you’re unable to get a total of 8 people together it would have been nice to have the option to use AI bots to fill things in. An ability to dumb them down would, of course, be essential so you’re not overmatched, but these sorts of events just aren’t as fun with only 2 - 4 people by comparison.

Whether as a party game or a solo experience Runbow has an incredible amount to offer. Its controls very much fall under the simple to learn but tough to master banner, especially if you’re going to tackle the likes of the Bowhemoth mode. Small touches like the collection of indie darling characters included as unlocks are very much appreciated and offer a motivation to explore the game’s modes to find them all. Especially if you’ve got some friends or family with a competitive streak Runbow can be a lot of raucous fun!

Score: 8

  • An amazing amount of single-player content to explore
  • Absolutely fantastic for playing with up to 8 people in local multiplayer
  • A load of indie characters can be unlocked to play with

  • The lack of AI bots can make it tougher to the multiplayer experience up to maximum craziness
  • Online multiplayer is functional and fun but can be inconsistent at times
  • Occasional issues with “getting stuck” can be aggravating