Developer 13AM Games
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Reviewed for Wii U (review code provided)
The indie game space is in an amazing place right now. There are literally thousands upon thousands of brilliant minds hammering away at keyboards coding new and interesting gaming experiences the likes of which we have never seen. This means it is a GREAT time to be a gamer and while the violent and gory games tend to get the press the family gaming space is just as vibrant.
Runbow is the result of some of that brilliance and I could not be happier to have had a chance to play it.
The genius behind Runbow is that is uses the Wii U technology to create a 9 player competitive multiplayer experience. Nine. To paraphrase Evan Erwin of The Magic Show Fame:
“9. Dudes. Srsly.”
They do this by using the Wii U gamepad and four Wiimote and nunchuck pairs. The Wiimotes and Nunchucks are each used to create separate controller inputs so two people can essentially divide the controller in half. It’s genius!
The game itself doesn’t exactly take away from that genius either. There are numerous game modes, but the core mechanic is consistent throughout. You control a character that uses jumps, double jumps, and a move very similar to the air moves in Super Smash Bros for Wii U to navigate various platforming levels. That by itself is not all that new or innovative. What IS new is that these stages are filled with various colored platforms and the background regularly changes colors. If the background changes to the color of the platform is, essentially, vanishes. If you happen to have been jumping their? You will likely be falling to your doom quickly thereafter.
The result is a platforming game that is as strategic as it is fast. You really need to think on your feet because one small mistake can end in the end of your turn. The good news about all of this is that levels are fast each lasting no more than a minute at the absolute longest. The keeps people who make a mistake early from having to sit out too long.
There are a host of game modes available including several single player modes that are all excellent thanks to well designed levels and tight platforming mechanics, but the real strength lies in the competitive multiplayer mode. It is even available online if you want to pit yourself against the very best. This leaves success entirely dependent on your precision platforming and your ability to parse the chaos going on around you.
If your child struggles with games that throw a lot of moving parts on the screen and expecting them to be able to handle it then you may want to shy away from this one until they are a bit older
Runbow is a unique experience that comes at a low price point. Its strongest mode is the 9 player multiplayer so it is a must own if you regularly have that many people over to play games together. Make sure to download it on the Wii U eshop.