When you first observe Runner3, the first impression most would probably get is, “this game is weird, so I’ll pass”, and we totally see that. However that all changes when you actually play the game and realize just how incredibly fun the game is, and the amount of laughs you’ll have from all the raw satire dispersed throughout the game. Runner3 is the third in the Runner series, with BIT.TRIP RUNNER being the first and Runner2 following shortly after. Runner3 allows you to take control of the main protagonist of the series, CommanderVideo, as you race across a wacky and colorful world filled with obstacles that will challenge you greatly. Unlike other platformers though, Runner3 is special in that it’s a rhythm styled platformer, meaning that in order to successfully master each stage with finesse you’ll need to keep your ears and eyes in the game as much as possible. It’s a game that will require you to really be on your toes as obstacles can come at you very quickly, and it’s up to you to determine the right course of action to stay alive until the end. You don’t even need to play the previous two titles to really find enjoyment in Runner3, as it provides its own unique playstyle that will keep you racing for the 100% completion score over and over again. Keep reading on if this sounds enticing. Kick, slide and hop your way to victory!
What to Expect
The one defining aspect about Runner3 stems from its simple mechanics, which allow you to only focus primarily on pressing the right buttons at the right time. You don’t need to worry about controlling the character in any major way using the joystick, unless you’re given the indication to do so. So it makes playing the game quite simple since your brain can focus more on the rhythm and overcome any pitfalls that lie ahead. As you race through each level, you’ll collect gold bars which allow you to purchase specific items or take part in bonus stages, should you collect them all. You’re rewarded greatly for gathering all of them so we encourage you to really try and aim for the best. There are also what’s known as Mode-ups, which grant the player access to gaining higher scores and also better music as you go through each stage. You have five modes in ascending order starting from: Hyper, Mega, Super, Ultra, and lastly Extra. As you work your way up, you’ll start to see the real beauty behind the game, and how you’ll really need to keep up the pace if you want to stay on top of things. Lastly, you have what are Gems, which are harder to obtain since they’re on a path of their own, and harder paths which you unlock once you complete one level for the first time. They allow you to unlock cosmetic items for your character.
For you nostalgia heads out there, Runner3 is the first title in its series to introduce vehicles such as the Mine Cart, which will remind many of you of the notable Donkey Kong franchise, as well as the Airplane. Another new introduction to Runner3 are Hero-Quests which are essentially side quests that you can use to unlock new playable characters. We won’t spoil who so please play through to find out!
As we stated earlier, Runner3 is a combination of a rhythm game and platformer, which provides you with a unique experience through and through. No level ever feels similar to the last and the amount of times you die will be very high, especially when you’re not familiar with how the mechanics work. For us, it took some time to really wrap our head around the fact that this wasn’t just your ordinary platformer and so for much of our time playing, we died so many times for random reasons. Once the fact stuck into our head that you need to really pay close attention to every beat that hits your eardrum, our performance improved and, to be honest, the game became more engaging. It’s not very often that you find a game that combines two very contrasting genres into one package and so it will require some fine tuning. Each level that you embark on has its own really psychedelic background with all sorts of things flying around, and bizarre looking creatures that you’d see in your dreams. At least that’s the idea we got when playing since everything felt like a dream as you traversed through every nook and cranny, gathering gold bars and Gems while staying clear of pesky robots.
In total there are 27 main levels, which may not sound like a lot at first, but when you consider things like Gem hunting, collecting every gold bar you come across, secrets, branching paths, and more music variety, Runner3 is jam packed with a lot of great features that can’t be ignored. Just running through the first portion of each level is hard enough, imagine doing it again but on an alternate path with even more annoying robots and traps that you’ll need to be mindful of. Not only that but you’ll probably want to beat the game with the other characters you unlock just for the fun of it, which adds even more hours to this already lengthy game.
They say simplicity is luxury and Runner3 totally feels luxurious in every way because it doesn’t steer you in some foreign direction but rather, it’s genuine approach to platforming is still very much in tact but it throws in something very fresh to immerse you enough to stay hooked for long periods of time. We will say admittedly though that it’s perhaps best to play this game in spurts because playing for too long may result in overloading the brain, and strain your eyes. There’s a lot to absorb and so we suggest playing in 30-40 min intervals over the course of say 3 hours to really have a great time with the game. It also helps to take a break anyway so that you can come back, reorganize your strategy and tackle whatever issue was bothering you before.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
We hope that those who own a Switch will pick this up and give it a shot because it’s truly an experience you’ll never find anywhere else. At least not at the level of quality that Runner3 has in terms of level design, well timed humor, and just all around craziness. Not to mention all the extra content that you can unlock if you truly dedicate yourself to it. The in game tutorial is very straightforward as it takes you through how to play the game, as you actually play, making it easy to understand for players new to not only the series but to platforming in general.
Really comical and wacky level design.
Challenging but very rewarding if you play in small spurts.
Some people may find it to be too repetitive.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Before we let you go and try Runner3 yourself, be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest game related news not only from Japan, but around the world! Anime fans can also stay updated on all the latest anime related content pertaining to new seasonal shows, among other interesting things! Twitch is where you’ll find us playing all the upcoming games from a variety of companies, Choice Provisions’ Runner3 being a prime example! So if you’d like to see a live impression of the game, then definitely tune in and inquire about it! Lastly, if you’re ever in need of a community full of passionate otaku, then hop on over to our official Honey’s Anime Discord channel where you’ll find lots of people and can chat about whatever you desire!
As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!