Runbow

Runbow Review

An orgy of indie

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Wii U on

ESRB Everyone rating

In an era where multiplayer games are making a huge comeback, Runbow offers quite an ambitious package. Being able to play as many popular indie game characters in hectic platformer races make this a tempting download, but is it worth a run to the eShop?

Runbow screenshot 1
I think Shovel Knight is about to dig up another win

Runbow's main gameplay feature is its use of colour. As you run, jump, and beat up your opponents, colours regularly swipe in from the edges of the screen. If you're standing on a green platform then the same shade of green comes in, that platform will disappear and you'll fall down. Therefore, you must always stay vigilant and plan each coming move carefully without ever slowing down. Fortunately, the controls are spot-on for frantic platforming and occasional combat. Upper-cutting an opponent to make him fall to his demise while hopping on platforms with perfect timing only to result in you acquiring the much sought-after trophy at the end will definitely make you feel awesome. Of course, many obstacles will get in your way such as power-ups used by your opponents and events where trickiness ensues (like when the screen flips upside-down), but no one said the road to victory would be easy!

Indie game characters included in Runbow

As you can see, there are a lot of characters in Runbow. Besides the above list, you can also play as a generic male and female character and unlock Runbow's antagonist and the Japanese mascot for the Unity game engine. Most characters look different to their original games which can appear awkward in some cases although the overall art style is more cohesive as a result. Besides their skins, each character doesn't significantly differentiate itself from the pack, but with so many included; you can't really complain. Anyway, the stage graphics consist of black platforms and constantly shifting coloured backgrounds which help make layouts clear. Lively music and upbeat sound effects compose the audio. It's pretty cool that effects always manage to match the character such as Shovel Knight's actions triggering sounds from retro games. In the end, its simple looks and spirited sounds make Runbow even more enjoyable.

Runbow screenshot 2
I find it hard not to just give up when the screen turns upside-down

Runbow boasts an impressive selection of available modes. If you're playing by yourself, you can go on an adventure filled with many challenging stages, take on a nearly impossible challenge, or battle folks online. It should be noted that these three modes can also be played with additional local players. The multiplayer modes consist of basic races, combat arenas, king of the hill, and one where a player becomes the "Colour Master" by using the GamePad to try and stop the other players from reaching their goal. The first three of these modes are playable online with the latter one only available for local play. Up to nine players can battle each other which is unheard of for the genre. Overall, it's safe to say that you won't be disappointed by the amount of content that Runbow has to offer.

Even though there is a lot to see and do in Runbow, the gameplay starts to become repetitive after the novelty wears off. Don't get me wrong, it's incredibly unique and undeniably fun. However, the sheer simplicity of it all emerges after you get used to the idiosyncrasies and frequent colour changes. It's still fun, but not nearly as much which means that you'll play it every now and then but you probably won't be obsessed with it for days on end. Another aspect that's along the same line is that the environments do very little to distinguish themselves. Besides small features like the odd brick pattern or lava, everything pretty much looks the same. Finally, I came across some minor technical issues such as the music being muted when playing online. Another annoyance is when I entered the online mode with the GamePad and it only detected one player but entering with the Pro Controller made it detect two players. Why does it matter which controller I used to select the mode? Anyway, no issues got in the way of gameplay which is good.

Runbow screenshot 3
Guacamelee's Juan may be about to win, but I have a feeling he won't be on solid ground for long

If you're looking for a frenzied multiplayer platformer for your Wii U then Runbow is a solid choice. With rewarding mechanics and loads of ways to play, you surely won't regret your run to the eShop to download this trophy of an indie title.

  • + Satisfying platformer races with a huge cast of beloved indie game characters
  • + Tons of content to experiment with
  • + Up to nine player local and online matches
  • - After the novelty wears off, the gameplay starts to become repetitive
  • - Environments lack visual variety
  • - Minor technical issues occur
8.0 out of 10
Gameplay video for Runbow 5:50

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