Genre: Platformer| Party game
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer|Publisher: 13AM Games|Headup Games
Age rating: 3+
Price:$14.99| € 14,99|£ 11.99|$22.50 (AU)
Review code kindly provided by Headup Games
Runbow is a 2D platformer party game developed and published by 13am Games. It was first released for WiiU in 2015 and was an absolute gem. It has since been ported to Windows, Nintendo New 3DS, Xbox One and now Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4. A physical release will be coming later this year.
This copy of Runbow did not come with the DLC, which will release separately on the e-shop.
Runbow’s main feature is that platforms are made of various colours. Waves of one colour will wash through the background from one side to another. Then, if a platform matches that colour, it will disappear and you cannot land on it. Each level has set colour palettes, and will go through them in order. The next colour will peek from the side before sweeping over, giving you some warning.
Run is the first of the three multiplayer modes, although you can play it by yourself if you feel inclined. The goal is to reach the end of the level and touch the trophy. There is a jump, double jump, punch, and a boost that also works as a punch. Runbow supports up to eight players locally, more than enough for Jonah’s family! On the WiiU the most I managed to get was four players and even that was a handful. There are options for difficulty, rounds of up to one-hundred, music, power-ups and colour palette. The power ups range from increasing speed, swapping places, turning the game upside down or making it black and white.
Arena and King of the Hill
The other two modes are Arena and King of the Hill. The Arena mode is to simply be the last one standing. The stages are varied and can be quite small, some mightn’t use the palette swapping either. It’s very fast and fun, even dying on accident is funny.
King of the Hill is similar, except that you have to stand on a platform for a countdown to win. The counter doesn’t reset if you fall off, but it does stop if someone else is on the spot. Sometimes the platform can be of a colour above a pit, or have hazards come into it. We preferred Arena over this.
Run, Arena and King of the Hill can be played online. I was unable to test this as I got the game before release, so the rooms were empty.
Adventure and the Bowhemoth
The Adventure mode is technically the single player mode, but you can still play it in co-op. Sometimes this can be helpful as I could uppercut my brother onto a platform to save him. Other times this would be detrimental as I would punch us both to our deaths. It is usually similar to Run in that you have to reach the goal. Other times it requires killing a certain number of enemies, or collecting coins. The boss stages, are more just like hard stages with a tricky bit at the end. Then you have to punch Satura (the villain) instead of walking to her like you would the trophy.
There appears to be over one-hundred stages and you don’t have to access them in a fully linear fashion. Instead it works like a grid, where beating a level opens up a few more. They’re coloured green, yellow, red and purple for difficulty. As such, it is possible to try to follow a series of easier stages if you want, although you’ll still have to beat Satura. You collect medals from beating the levels within a certain time, three being the shortest. So, while the levels are short, there is incentive to replay them.
The Bowhemoth, is like a long version of Adventure mode. As you have been swallowed by the beast you have to work through to escape its’ insides. This mode is to be played in one go as if you exit you have to start from the start. However, there are checkpoints which makes it more possible to accomplish.
The art style is supposedly based on the styling of Saul Bass movie posters. All the game modes loading screens have their own posters. The Adventure mode is split into four sections with their own movie poster. The music is gorgeous, and speeds up on the faster paced levels to match.
Whenever you die, a skull makes a little quip to you. There are quite a few of these. While they are to cover up loading times, it’s still entertaining.
As you play through the game you’ll earn in game achievements. With these you’ll unlock various art, costumes and characters. The main characters, Val and Hue have a few colours and costumes to choose from. 13AM Games also managed to get a bunch of indie game mascots in as playable characters as well. Including the likes of Shantae, Commander Video and Gunvolt.
The only hiccup I have with this game is that the boost is controlled by doubling the punch and this can lead to death. I did once experience frame issues on a level with lightning but not anywhere else. The WiiU version had Colourmaster mode, where one player changed the game with the gamepad. I asked about this, and it was taken out due to the lack of second screen. They did also mention that since the Wii U version the graphics have been enhanced.
Runbow is an amazingly fun game to play with friends and family. Playing the adventure mode with another person is also great. I loved this game on the Wii U and I love it now. Hopefully in future I can test the online with my Discord buddies. Though I suppose the only people I couldn’t recommend this to are solo gamers, until their online friends get the game too. For local co-op fans, it’s a must have. I like Runbow a lot!