Roy the Marshmallow Boy is on the move in this new Wii U eShop game, I’ve Got to Run! There’s no story – Roy is running for running’s own sake. It’s a simple game (Nintendo Web Framework developed) and selling at a budget price – is a story really expected? Roy is cute, and his game is refreshingly addictive and fun.
IGTR has three modes. Endless Classic is the most basic, giving you a single jump while running upon kitchen countertops. Endless Double gives you a double jump as you run across castle watchtowers, and might be the most forgiving of the three. Endless Special rounds out the package, with the aforementioned double jump combining with new speed altering items as you bounce about the moon. The items are cleverly placed, making speed shifts unavoidable and forcing you to adjust on the fly. They really help immerse you in the atmosphere, making it feel like you’re floating in lesser gravity. The green speedy ones are hard to resist, but get too many and you’ll basically go faster to the point where you can no longer react – I like it!
Visually this is not a bad looking game. The backgrounds have an attractive oil painted look, and fun touches scattered about. The kitchen shows marshmallows sitting next to a cup of hot chocolate – my backstory is that they’re Roy’s unfortunate family, and he’s running to avoid the same fate! The graphics are static, and while I’m fine with that some light scrolling or animation would’ve been welcome, for both more visual diversity and additional challenge. The game runs at a smooth 60 fps 99% of the time, with the only noticeable stutter coming as each mode begins. If you’ve played budget mobile runners, you know how much framerates can chug and break your rhythm – IGTR is a breath of fresh air by comparison!
The music is enjoyable, which is good as there are only three main tunes. Each one matches the level themes quite well. One interesting touch is how the track that plays on the Moon level will speed up or slow down in sync with your current item acquisition. I found it jarring initially but grew to like it, and feel it’s a very good touch. Overall I was pleased with the music, and think the tunes are both catchy and nice complements.
Control is as simple as a button press (or stylus tap). It plays great on the Wii U GamePad, though Classic Controller Pro support is coming via a patch for those who prefer it. Some runners try to cram in many control mechanics (with varying degrees of success), but IGTR keeps it simple, and I think it’s the better for it. It’s certainly no less challenging or enjoyable as a result. Seamless transitions when you fall (with no discernible loading) make it an easy game to lose time with.
What might improve the overall experience? Well, I noticed there was no pause button when a sneeze hit me! The Home menu works at stopping the action, but a pause button would be nice. It’s absence was said to prevent high score exploits – maybe I’m naïve, but I think it would add more than it detracts. Comparing scores with some early access press was fun, but I hope Miiverse can compensate for a lack of in-game leaderboard access. Lastly, I would’ve liked to see an option to enter initials. Maybe I’m a relic of the arcade days, but too many high score games skimp on this feature – I’d welcome it in IGTR.
Admittedly runners aren’t the strongest genre out there (and endless ones in particular), but I’ve Got to Run turned out better than I first expected. Not only is at an easy recommendation for runner fans, but I’d suggest it even to those who find the genre shallow. At just $1.99 there’s no reason not to give this game a try, and you might find it growing on you. I hope to see more of Roy – a 3DS port of this game or DLC updates would be great!