Runner3 on Nintendo Switch
Choice Provision is widely known for its Bit.Trip game series, which features chip-inspired soundtracks and rhythm-based gameplay. The Runner Series has you play as a guy named Commander Video who has to slide, jump, kick, bounce and dance your way to victory through multiple stages which, if you’re not musically inclined, can become very very difficult, especially in Runner3 . Playing through the three different “worlds” and around 25 levels the game had to offer wasn’t too hard for me to conquer, but there were times when I just wanted to throw my Joy-Con across the room, but not because of faulty gameplay or technical glitches, but simply because every time I failed I had known it was my fault and my fault alone.
Like other Runner games before it, Runner3 slowly introduces you to all the mechanics and moves you’ll need to get to the end of the game. movements and activate switches without even thinking twice. Since Runner3 is all about music and the rhythm of beats, it can be very satisfying to be on the move, collect all the collectibles, and slide under enemies at just the perfect moment. But what happens sometimes, especially towards the end of the game, is that when mechanics are introduced, it can take some trial and error to figure out what you need to do. I often found myself dying just because I didn’t know what to do with a certain object, or because the camera angle was slightly off, making it hard for me to gauge distances. It’s not that the dramatic camera changes from side-scrolling to behind-the-shoulder aren’t exciting and radiant, but sometimes it just doesn’t work and it causes me to die for no reason, leaving me to start the level over.
Fortunately, there is a checkpoint in each level of Runner3, which is usually placed halfway through the stage, but it usually took me a while to get to this checkpoint if the stage was unusually difficult. There were times when I had to replay the start of a level over 30 times, which isn’t fun at all. Falling into a pattern of dying in the same place over and over again was quite frustrating, which left me wanting an extra checkpoint.
Getting to the end of Runner3 proved to be quite difficult at times, but once I got into the rhythm of things, it was extremely rewarding to complete a challenging level that continuously kicked my ass. Choice Provision also has a knack for distracting you as you try to focus on objects heading your way throwing the craziest scenarios in the background of the scene. If you have a split second to notice what’s going on behind you, you’d probably think Commander Video is in some kind of trippy dream, because let me tell you, it was like one of the designers had a little too much sugar or something – it’s a child’s nightmare.
Once I learned the runner’s ways, I went back and tried some of the early stages again to try and collect all the collectibles the game has for you to collect. There are 100 gold coins in each stage as well as 25 purple gems that appear in alternate paths. You can unlock new costumes for Commander Video as well as other playable characters like Shovel Knight, Eddie Riggs of Brutal Legend fame, and Charles Martinet, the game’s narrator who you might know as the guy who voices Mario. There are plenty of reasons to go back and perfect all the stages, adding tons of replayability and a way to show off your high score to your rivals or friends, whoever they are.
As a fan of other rhythm games on Switch such as Thumper and Voez, Runner3 definitely takes the cake as one of the best the console has to offer. Choice Provisions did something special with Runner3; it’s a game that might make you want to internally scream over and over again, but at the same time, it’ll have you grinning from ear to ear while freezing you up when you finally overcome those pesky obstacles.
Rating: 4/5 – Excellent
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