It’s always nice to have a new platformer to play. Fortunately, this generation has provided us with a veritable megaton of indie darlings that scratch that particular itch. The best part of course is that they mostly have something unique about them, something that makes them stand out amongst the crowd. Runbow is one of those games.
It’s a straightforward enough concept, Runbow requires you to run to the right of the screen whilst jumping and punching down the pesky enemies that bow before you. It’s not necessary but you can also taunt them if you want to, it’s kind of fun to do so I recommend giving it a go. The simplicity of Runbow is what sets it apart, run to the right with two buttons guiding you all the way through.
Thankfully, there is depth in your combat and movement, if only slightly. Your attack can be varied and will allow a horizontal dash (an essential component), a straight up Ryu uppercut and more. There’s no doubt it can be a little fiddly at first and you’re going to want to keep practising to ensure your timing can be perfected, but once it’s down you’ll be tearing through the levels and avoiding death pits and fire with little issue.
The biggest draw for Runbow though is its color scheme, and how it’s used in the game as a genuine mechanic. Throughout each level a wave of different colours will tear across the back of the screen, taking out objects and platforms of the same hue. You can be tearing it across a variety of platforms and suddenly the one you’re standing on will disappear, leaving you falling to the depths if you’re not fast enough to jump onto the next platform. You have about seconds to jump before the hue changes again so you’ll need to memorise the patterns before you attempt a particular sequence. It can be frustrating, infuriating, even, but nailing it feels rewarding and you’re gonna be thankful you took that little bit of extra time.
There’s a ton to do in Runbow, offering a huge variety of different gameplay modes ranging from if you just want to learn the mechanics to insanely difficult segments which are there purely for those who want to show off, I’m sure of it. The story mode is bonkers and brings to life the world of Runbow in fun ways, with over 100 levels of that encompass boss fights, races, hunts and of course the ever-present dread of jumping onto platforms that will disappear at any second.
It’s multiplayer though where the game really comes alive. The party modes are near enough of a reason to get this game and that’s saying something. You’ll have races, King of the Hill modes, arena battles and more. In a Speedrunner kind of way once you’re dead you’re out, and the rest of the players will carry on without you. It’s hilarious and frantic with no match lasting longer than 40-odd seconds, definitely one for the list on a gaming night. The fact this game can be played with up to 8 local players is ridiculous, and ensures nobody gets left behind when wanting to play is brilliant (unless you have a party for nine people, that is). There’s also an online mode, but the screen below details my experience with that on Nintendo Switch at time of reviewing.
Runbow is yet another great port for the Switch and offers a fiendishly difficult but hysterical time. Grab some friends and get the best out of this game by playing with others.
If you dare.
Runbow is available now on…well, everything. It was reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
Developer: 13AM Games
Publisher: Headup Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a review code from the publishers. For our full review policy please go here.