Do you remember when couch co-op was a thing? Well, independent game studio, 13AM Games, has brought that experience back to this generation of gaming and planted their latest title, Runbow, on the Nintendo Wii U. This nine player experience is a side-scrolling brawler that pits individuals against each other in efforts to reach the end of a stage. Runbow is jammed packed with content that can serve the maximum amount of players just fine and can still appeal to gamers interested in handling the experience alone. Either way, Runbow caters to everyone and has the ability to enchant anyone with an addictive personality and/or tenacity.
When I initially took a glance at Runbow, I have to admit, I wasn’t entirely impressed. I thought the game looked too cheesy and wouldn’t play very well, but, man, was I wrong. Big time! Despite its lower-ended graphical design, Runbow performs better than most next-gen video games, and its simplistic game design is truly the icing on the cake. The premise of the video game is easy to comprehend – a quality I haven’t seen in a video game in quite some time. In order for one to succeed, one must fight off opponents and reach the end of a stage alive; doing so will grant you a trophy. Acquiring these items is simply meant for boasting your supremacy towards your opponents and will occasionally grant you special prizes at the end of the…”Runbow.”
Throughout the course of the experience, unlockable characters from a variety of intellectual properties can be accessed. For instance, Max from the Mutant Mudds series is playable in this video game, as is Rusty from SteamWorld Dig. Although these characters are fun to use, their implementation is merely for aesthetic purposes and does nothing to enhance the gameplay. This is fine and certainly adds diversity to the character selection, but it would have been nice to utilize trademarked weaponry and abilities that were unfortunately absent.
Runbow is a video game that will keep you very busy if you are a determined individual. Several modes are designed to keep you and others active like “Run”, “Arena”, and “King of the Hill”, which are fine to play at first but then eventually become repetitive. Running courses can be a difficult task to accomplish and requires the individual to focus on an array of colors which are displayed on the screen. Platforms will disappear if they match the same color as the background and death is certain should you miss a step or jump. The variety of colors and obstacles add a certain flavor to Runbow which I haven’t experienced in the past; making this video game feel unique and comfortably pleasant. Aside from the games main courses, the real meat and potatoes of the experience is handled in “Bowhemoth” mode – a mode in which the player is thrown into a wave of incredibly difficult stages that seem to be never-ending. This happens to be my favorite mode of them all. Sure, Runbow is a dish that serves up to nine individuals, but when you need a little “Me time”, Bowhemoth can be played at your own pace. The challenges found within this particular mode are slightly identical to the game’s core stages; just with an increased level of difficulty. Synonymous or not, completion of these challenges are absolutely rewarding and addicting to partake in as well.
13AM Games has created something wonderful in Runbow. This title provides hours of fun and entertainment; with or without company. It manages to keep the player hooked by integrating unlockable characters from a variety of intellectual properties and can stand toe-to-toe against other cooperative experiences like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. Though death is certain and may happen quite frequently, Runbow takes a unique idea and makes it work perfectly.