Runbow (Wii U)

RUNBOW_BOXRunbow is a competitive 2-D platformer for up to eight players, and it has a colorful twist. Every second or so, the background will change to a different color, and any platforms or walls that are that same color will blend into the background and disappear, so you’ll have to stay on your toes! Runbow is a downloadable Wii U title, and it’s one of the better indie games out there.

Play control is akin to a simplified version of Smash Bros. You can jump and double jump as well as punch. Double tap the punch button to do a charge attack, and press up and down as well as punch to dash up or butt stomp down. You can choose a man (Hue) or woman (Val) character and unlock outfits for them to wear as you play. You’ll also be able to unlock other playable characters from other indie games like Commander Video (Bit.Trip), Juan and Tostada (Guacamelee), and even Shovel Knight (yay)! It’s like an Indie Game All-Stars!  But they all have the same moves.

Runbow has several gameplay modes. The first four are for two to eight players! That’s one of the big draws of this game is how many people can play at the same time, and you can use all manner of Wii U and Wii controllers. Anyway, in the first mode, Get Ready to Run, you must dash through a short 2-D platforming stage. Whoever can make it to the trophy at the end first, wins. Step Into the Arena is more like Smash Bros, in that you are in a single screen stage and must attack other players. Last one standing wins. King of the Hill is similar to the arena mode, but here you must stand in a certain spot the longest to win. The last main mode is Defeat the Color Master. In here, someone plays on the Wii U gamepad screen while the rest look at the TV. The TV players must make it to the end of a platforming stage, but the person on the Wii U gamepad can mess them up by dropping items to distract them or change the background color at will. If any of the players on the TV makes it to the trophy, they win, but if none do, the Wii U gamepad player wins. In any of these modes, you can nab temporary power-ups to give you an edge.

There are also a couple of single player modes, as well, but they can also be played with up to eight players. In Adventure Mode, you must defeat Satura, an evil colorless lady who is jealous of Val and Hue’s bright shades and colorful world. You play stages on a grid and can earn up to three medals by finishing them quick enough. Most stages are the 2-D platforming ones, but sometimes you’ll have to collect a certain number of coins to pass, or defeat a certain number of enemies in an arena. The last mode is called Bowhemoth. In this mode, a giant monster swallows you whole, and you must complete a slew of super challenging platforming stages to make it out alive. You don’t get to save your progress in Bowhemoth, so you must beat it all in one go. This mode is for super experts only.

Runbow’s problems are minimal and hardly worth mentioning. I wish you could play more of the modes in single player, but at least you can go online to play a few of the modes. Play control is good, but I wish it was a slight bit lighter, as the characters have a heavy feeling to them when jumping. Also, there are a few bugs regarding saving and unlocking characters. I met the requirements to unlock Scram Kitty, but it didn’t save the fact that I unlocked him, but I can’t go back and unlock that character again because it shows I already met the requirement to do so. But maybe they can fix that in a software update later. And I wish the game wasn’t so gosh darn hard. At any rate, if you have a bunch of gamer friends who like to visit you; Runbow is a great game for everyone to play! Definitely one of the better Wii U indie games out there.


Kid Factor:

Violence is minimal. If you get punched or zapped or skewered, you just flash and get knocked back. Reading skill is helpful for navigating the menus, but the game is pretty simple to figure out just by playing. Younger gamers may get frustrated with the difficulty, though. With up to eight players, the whole family can enjoy it. Runbow is rated E for Everyone.

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