Just as I ponder on what PS Vita games rocked my handheld in 2013 out pops Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien and lands a size 12 training shoe up my rear end. Released on the Playstation 3 in early 2013 Runner2 knocks other contenders sideways as this awesome little endless runner never loses breath. Interested? You should be, and here’s why.
Commander Video, that’s you, needs to save the planet. Easy. A totally amazing introduction sets the scene to this endearing little PS Vita number. Fast and witty and if you’ve ever watched Batfink then you’ll know where I’m coming from, this intro is bonkers and I love it. Even little touches like loading messages saying “You Love Gaijin Games” and wacky adverts from “Burger Mouth burger Brand Mouth Burgers” are small touches of design genius from developers Gaijin games.
BIT.TRIP Presents…Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is all about running from left to right in an endless fashion. Starting off with a simple jump and collecting as much gold bars as possible (and other hidden pick-ups) eases you in slowly. Reaching the end via one checkpoint see’s Commander Video charge head first into a cannon only to be blasted onto a giant dartboard. This leaves his little tired legs dangling as his entire body is cocooned onto the board. How else would you expect the level to end?
You can’t stop this energetic character, Commander Video is a ruthless little chap charging about the place like a 3 year old on Relentless. Jumping over wonderfully strange objects lessens the risk of impalement. Even a standard set of steps can cause a trip up and death if not correctly executed. The learning curve is spot on as the game really kicks in once other mechanics are introduced. Sliding, blocking, kicking, mid air ducking, bouncing and even performing a little dance while racing to the finishing post need all to be perfected to advance. This is where Runner2 becomes the little addictive number you hoped for. It’s the ability to think quickly and hope your fingers do what upstairs tells them to do that brings such a well crafted and honed down gaming experience to the PS Vita. Absolute concentration is required if you are to progress through the five beautifully colourful worlds. It’s a case of remembering which action is required to conquer each obstacle. Each time you restart it’s the same path ahead so it becomes a double whammy of remembering what action to perform and when to perform it.
Now the added bonus to all this fosbury flopping mayhem is the clever way the music oozes in and becomes a hypnotic electronic tribal dance theme. Perform a timed jump and a note gets added or a string section kicks in. The game subtly becomes a music rhythm game and totally rocks. Not in a Kickbeat fashion, there’s no distorted guitars or Ampeg stack bass filling your ears. Here it’s an ambient world of electronic sounds that blow you away.
Along your path of destruction hidden levels are accessed where you are thrown into a world of the 8-bit era. Here it’s a sudden and brief return to retro gaming. The contrast is great as returning to the present day sees just how beautiful Runner2 looks after a glimpse of how we used to enjoy our gaming.
DLC comes in the shape of That’s right: The Good Friends Character Pack. Here you can play as Josef from Machinarum, Spelunky Guy from Spelunky and a load host of other little gaming heroes. Even with this extra purchase your paying peanuts for something that is so brilliant.
Completing each level is met with the greatest sense of satisfaction throughout Runner2 and it’s this feeling that never lets up. Fast addictive harmless fun does not come much better on the Vita. Wow, I’m so glad Commander Video crossed my path at this religious festive season…hell yeah!
Lizard Rating 9/10