Developer: Gaijin Games
Publisher: Gaijin Games
Review Platform: Wii U
NA Release Date: 26/02/13
EU Release Date: 11/04/13
Also Available on: PC, PS3, 360 (coming to Vita, iOS)
File Size: 827MB
BIT.TRIP RUNNER was arguably the best in a series of six WiiWare titles, offering a perfectly tuned mix of compelling gameplay, a mean difficulty curve, and pleasing retro aesthetics. As the first true sequel in the multi-genre series, BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien – better known as simply Runner2 – has a lot to live up to.
At its simplest core, Runner2 remains unchanged. You take control of CommanderVideo, or indeed one of his unlockable chums, who then runs from left to right, while you jump, kick and slide your way over, through and underneath any and all obstacles. However, Runner2 is also so much more. It takes the near-perfect formula of BIT.TRIP RUNNER and expands on it endlessly, with a charming HD visual style that brings proceedings bang up-to-date.
Indeed, retro throwback Runner2 is not, with plenty of modern conventions giving this sequel an identity of its own. With micro-leaderboards revealing how you’re faring against fellow Runners on your Wii U friend list, this is a game that just keeps on giving; even after rinsing each stage of its secrets.
There’s more than just gold and those red crosses that give CommanderVideo his trademark rainbow trail here. To one-hundred percent complete the game, you must play through each level no less than three times (once on each difficulty) while some levels even offer multiple routes and secret exits.
Certain new features make replaying levels for high scores an absolute blast, too. There’s no score cap, meaning you can push your score higher and higher thanks to the addition of a certain new move, and couple of new gameplay mechanics which make the potential for an even higher score almost always possible. We won’t go into detail here for the sake of spoilers, but these features certainly go the extra mile in making Runner2 borderline addictive to the species of gamer that gets a kick out of bettering their friends’ high scores.
Thankfully, this sequel isn’t as relentlessly difficult as the original game. While the obstacles (and your button presses) will often get frantic, the game feels right at home on the Wii U GamePad in a way that we can’t quite explain; with exceptionally elegant and satisfying controls, you’ll run into no cheap deaths here. Even those that were easily frustrated with RUNNER should find Runner2 a significantly more enjoyable experience in a well-rounded package.
And that’s the beauty of this game: no matter whether you spend the best part of forty hours mastering the gameplay and setting the leaderboards alight, or whether you play through each level once while ignoring the secrets, you’ll have had a blast and will surely feel content with your purchase.
Many thanks to Gaijin Games for providing us with a review code.
Runner2 is out now in the Nintendo eShop for Wii U.