Runbow, party of up to nine? Your fun is waiting.
13AM Games was a brand-new indie studio when they released Runbow back in 2015 on the Wii U. It saw moderate success, so much so that a year later the game received a special retail release. That physical version of the game is Runbow: Deluxe Edition, and it's all the fun of the Runbow experience without taking up room on your Wii U hard drive!
Runbow at its core is a fast and frenetic 2D platformer that feels great to play. What separates it from other indie darlings of the platforming variety is the game's constant color switching mechanic, where the background routinely shifts between different colors. When the screen shifts colors, say from red to yellow, what platforms were yellow have now disappeared into the background, and what platforms were red, previously removed, appear to platform on. Initial levels bounce slowly between two colors while later challenges task you with running through obstacle courses that routinely shift between a multitude of colors at a rapid pace. This background color-changing mechanic not only forces you to be aware of where the visible platforms are, but it also forces you to be cognizant of when they will vanish and where new ones will appear.
|This multiplayer match of survival is just as hot and heated as the lava here!|
Local multiplayer's competitive offerings sport four unique modes. You get standard races where the goal is to foil your opponents with or without the aid of items to reach the level's goal, a trophy. You also have the wicked and wild king-of-the-hill style mode, which sees each opponent trying to stand on a level's platform for a specific amount of time (though this does not need to be done all in one mounting of the hill). Then, there is pure survival, where opponents attempt to slam others off the level into lava or some other type of hazard, and the player left standing is the victor. Finally--and this is the mode that unlike the other competitive multiplayer modes, cannot be played online-- is Defeat the Color Master, where the GamePad player does the background color-switching themselves, doing their best to foil his or her opponents run to the goal by tricking as well as tripping them up.
|Don't worry, you can very much become the queen of the hill too.|
|It's a rainbow stampede of colorful characters all vying for that prestigious trophy.|
Other than running for the goal, there are two other level types, though rarer in appearance: one where you take out a set number of enemies, and one where you need to collect a certain number of trinkets.
It's just fine and dandy to simply complete each level, but you also can earn up to three stars based on your completion time of each level. As rewards such as achievements and bonuses like concept art are unlocked through acquiring stars on levels, it's a good motivation to try your best and master the Adventure mode.
|Don't just complete Adventure mode levels-- race to the finish to score those wonderful three stars!|
|This familiar cast of characters is just half of the indie faces available to unlock in Runbow: Deluxe Edition.|
As stated, part of the fun of Runbow is how simple it is. That goes for the controls as well, which are as pick-up-and-play as any game I've recently played. There are but three actions in Runbow: moving, jumping, and punching. You can double jump and use your punch as a final boost either upward or to the side. Though the punch can see your cooperative buddies occasionally throwing shade at you for hitting them into a pit. However, this uppercut move is great for defensive reasons, such as getting extra height or rescuing yourself with a last second save. The only issue with the punch is that it's so easy to double tap the punch button that you might do a dashing punch when you don't want to and at an inopportune time.
|Keep an eye on the background in order to gauge which platforms will be safe to jump on and off of.|
I've read that the original version of Runbow initially suffered from performance problems that greatly affected the frame-rate, something that would be seriously annoying for a precision and timing-based platforming game like this. However, and for at least the Deluxe Edition, these performance problems have been completely ironed out. No frame-rate issues of any kind were experienced through my 10+ hours with the game. The only concerning part of Runbow, regardless of which version you get, is that the online isn't too popular anymore. Definitely make sure you have friends or family members to play with.
Runbow: Deluxe Edition takes everything players loved about the original Wii U exclusive and makes it available in physical form. For those who were new to the game like me, then you'll get a bevy of awesome content, crazy multiplayer, and a tremendous amount of laughter. While the Adventure and Bowhemoth modes won't last you too terribly long, Runbow: Deluxe Edition definitely deserves a space in your Wii U library, especially if you don't already own the original digital release.
[SPC Says: A-]