REVIEW – Runner3

I’ve been a fan of the Bit.Trip games ever since the WiiWare days. One of my favorite games was Bit.Trip Runner, and apparently it was a favorite for many others. I’ve since played Runner2, and I was excited that Runner3 was coming to Nintendo Switch. All this makes it hard for me to say it’s been a bit of a chore to keep going back to Runner3.

The basic concept hasn’t changed from the beginning. Runner3 is an endless-running, rhythm-based platformer. As you go through each level, you must pay close attention to both the platforms and enemies but also to the music. Every jump, slide, and kick must be perfectly timed to the fantastic soundtrack. 

The graphics are really beefed up even more this time around. The game looks amazing. It also sounds awesome, as the new music is so good. You can change out characters, so you don’t always have to be CommanderVideo. Vehicles have been added for a slightly different style of play. You can choose your path at several points within each level. All these probably make it sound like there is plenty of new content and ideas for a solid third entry, but there are two things that keep me from firing up Runner3 all the time.

First, I have moved on. I don’t mean to say that this style of game is beneath me. I just mean that I don’t enjoy it like I once did. What once was a game that I’d play over and over just to get a higher score or make it past that one area. I often found myself saying, “Just one more time!” But that is just not the case anymore. I think this is more me than the game itself. Again, there are several new features and modes in Runner’s second sequel.

Secondly, Runner3 is incredibly difficult. While the first two were also eventually difficult, I felt it ramped up slowly as you progressed through the game. This one ramps up incredibly quick. In fact, I got stuck on the second or third level for quite a long time. And this wasn’t just something I struggled with, as I talked with a few others from the NintendoFuse community who also got stuck. Stairs have always been tough, but this time, they are very difficult. This punishing nature did not give me much hope, so instead of saying, “Just one more time,” I found myself pushing through and saying, “Ok, I guess I’ll try it one more time for the review.”

There are new free-movement retro challenges, which are really fun, but the mode isn’t enough in and of itself to warrant a $30 price tag. In fact, that’s what is also tough about Runner3 — it’s always been a less expensive game. This one is priced higher, which means it can’t be a quick and thoughtless purchase anymore. And unless you really want to play it, that price might seem too high.

Don’t get me wrong. Runner3 is a great game. It looks really good. It sounds amazing. The new features and modes add quite a bit of content. It’s a solid entry. I’m just not into this style of game anymore, and the difficulty level didn’t help me want to stick with it. If you aren’t like me, you still like rhythm-platformers and aren’t scared off by the difficulty, you should definitely pick up Runner3

GAME: Runner3
PLATFORM: Nintendo Switch
DEVELOPER: Choice Provisions
PUBLISHER: Choice Provisions
ESRB: E10+ for Everyone 10+
MSRP: $29.99 US
OBTAINED: Code provided by developer/publisher for press purposes