A few years ago we got the opportunity to review an awesome platforming-rhythm game called Bit.Trip Runner. We found it pretty amusing and gave it an almost perfect score: it’s a type of game we’re all familiar with, but it’s done in such a way that it feels very fresh and fun.
Now, from the creators of Bit.Trip Runner comes its successor: Runner 2. It has everything that we loved about the first game, but it builds on it and improves pretty much every aspect of it, graphics, mechanic, story, and much more.
Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
A lot has changed since the first time we checked in with our friend Commander Video, he’s now trapped in a crazier world and he has a few more tricks under his sleeve. Runner 2 won’t be unfamiliar to anyone who played the first installment of the game, but it will provide some much needed improvements to the game to keep it fresh.
For once, it’s out on Steam, which means it has accomplishments and all the other cool social features that come along with the platform. There’s also now a narrative and a more solid storyline, as well as some gameplay tweaks like checkpoints. Let me elaborate on all of this.
The mechanic of the game remains pretty similar to the first Runner game: you have to sprint your way through a level while avoiding obstacles and finding goodies along the way. What changes, though, is the difficulty level. In the first Runner, there were only a few movements you could do to avoid obstacles, such as jumping, sliding and kicking.
Runner 2, on the other hand, continously introduces new ways for you to interact with the level, such as a shield for blocking incoming objects and a command for using rails as zip lines. Then there are special obstacles, such as loop ramps, that call for particular actions like key tapping in order to get extra points. Something else that’s new to the game are checkpoints, which are usually found mid-level and make the game more fluid and much less frustrating than its precessor.
Music, of course, remains at the core of the game, and every action you make blends with the soundtrack of the game, creating a beautiful interactive soundscape of retro gaming nostalgia.
Runner 2 is a pretty big game, especially compared to the first Runner. The game consists of five different worlds, each containing a number of regular levels (around 15) and a few extra ones. Each level also offers a ton of rewards for playing it in different ways. Some levels require you to come back to them after you’re finished just so that you can unlock certain things like coffins or extra levels. There’s stuff hidden all over, and if you want to collect everything the game has to offer, you’re gonna have to spend some considerable time with the game.
Most levels reach a point where you’ll be forced to choose between two paths: a difficult one marked with a red sign and a green one representing the safe road. The difficult paths sometimes do get pretty challenging, but they’re the ones that offer rewards such as alternate endings.
Completing a level with all coins will get you to a minigame where you can score extra points by catapulting your character into a bullseye. Finding a cassette hidden on certain levels will bring up a new “Retro Challenge” as well, which is an old school sprint level where you’ll only get three attempts at finishing it.
Runner 2 also counts with a few unlockable items that you can earn by completing the extra levels or finding the keys and coffins spread around the worlds. Some are different playable characters, and a few others are different goofy costumes for each of your characters.
Good Old Fun
There’s something to this type of platformers that just grabs you from the first time you play them. I’ve made the argument in my review of the first Runner that it’s due to how they don’t give you a moment to think: they just throw you back running again as soon as you fail a level. This challenge makes it hard to quit playing, and even though it can get frustrating at times, for the most part it just provides a fair challenge and it makes you kick yourself for not being able to press the space bar on time.
As far as overall gaming mechanics go, Runner 2 is no different than the first installment, but the goofy characters, new challenge elements, rewards and improvements on graphics make it feel like a completely different game. I’ll have to admit it makes me smile everytime, even when it’s kicking my ass.
For casual gamers, Bit.Trip Runner 2 could be one of the most amusing games you’ll find these days. It’s just good old innocent entertainment, it doesn’t take up too much of your time, doesn’t require much of you to play it, and it’s really easy to get into it. Once it gets to you, it will be very hard to shake it off, as it is quite addicting.
Gaijin Games might have steered away from their 8-bit concept here, but it’s only for the best. Runner 2 is with no doubt the best game they’ve released, and every thing that they’ve added in this installment will surely bring you endless entertainment. It’s as good as a platformer can get.
Runner 2 is a very well-thought and addicting platforming game. It mixes rhythm with triggerable actions, and it improves over its predecessor with better graphics, mechanics and tons more factors of replayability.10