Review: Runner 3 (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, June 1, 2018

Review: Runner 3 (Switch)

by Jon Cousins

To the hills, for your life.

Endless runners have inevitably been shackled to the stigma of being disposable mobile phone games. Whether it be a minute or a handful, the high score chasing, and ludicrously adaptable genre has even seen Nintendo mascot Mario try his hand at it. On the Nintendo Switch however, his 3D locale-hopping antics have upped the ante, and Runner 3 arrives trying to prove that there's enough substance to warrant the humble auto-runner alongside the Switch’s best platformers.

From the outset (which will come as a surprise to series veterans), Runner 3 mixes up the formula, but it is still utterly bonkers. You control a cylindrical ninja looking chap called Commander Video bopping, grooving and jumping through vividly colourful yet sometimes oddly disturbing worlds, tapping buttons or dragging the left stick to slide and kick your way through a level.

There are an admirable number of extra elements to spice things up, such as flying and vehicle sections, alternate paths and special gems to collect, but it's pretty a standard auto running experience, albeit with a degree of variety and polish you'd expect from a console game.

While the personality of the ’protagonist’, the enemies and the environments, in general, are enough to at least maintain interest, where Runner 3 starts to let itself down pretty early on. Although that the time of writing, the developers have just stated that there will be an easy mode, in its current state, it is unnecessarily hard.

The stages are longer than its prequel and with only one checkpoint, it results in just that one tricky section alluding you will lead to replaying 60-80% of the level just to have another chance. Whimsical hindsight about missing one crucial obstacle quickly turns to curse word inventing frustration.

For everything that Runner 3 does (and tries to) get right, it shoots itself in the foot when it really matters. For all its wacky charm, the game sacrifices reaction time and satisfying accomplishment for seemingly random and infuriatingly unforgiving difficulty. For all the retro stages, boss fights and hilarious writing (and voice work from none other than Charles ‘Mario’ Martinet), everything seems cobbled together in a puzzling and mechanically inconsistent package. Shame, because it’s presentation and writing are spot on, and it’s predecessor deserved more.

Final Score: 6.5

(Review code provided by the publisher)

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