By Josh Speer / September 7th, 2017
One thing you should know about me by now is that I’m a huge fan of platformers. Blame Mega Man and Mario, but I grew up playing fantastic games where the point was to hop, jump and blast my way to success. Nowadays platformers are a little more uncommon, and finding a truly fantastic one in that mix is even harder. Luckily, the good folks at Choice Provisions have me covered with Runner3.
The latest and greatest adventure of Commander Video is slated to come to Steam and Switch in early 2018, and the version I got a chance to play at PAX West was the Switch version. Though the team did inform me that they were still working on bringing certain graphical flourishes to that version which are present in the Steam build, I was by no means unsatisfied with the presentation. The game is bright, colorful and crazy, just like I’ve come to expect from the series. But the most important aspect of any Bit. Trip Runner game is the gameplay, and I am happy to concur that Runner3 plays wonderfully.
I got a chance to try my hand at a couple of levels, while the devs informed me of some of the features that will be in the final build of the game. Besides the expected stuff, such as running through levels collecting every item you can and avoiding foes, as well as massive boss fights, Runner3 has some nice new tricks up its sleeves. One of the more interesting new features are the Hero Quests, which are fetch quests that have the good Commander fulfilling the needs of a host of strange creatures. More strange are the puppet shows that only the most determined of collectors will unearth, revealing backstory and narrated by the talented Charles Martinet. If you really feel the need for pain, there are also self described Impossible Levels as well as throwback Retro Levels (they are actually looking for names for those on their Twitter!). Most interesting to me are the Mechiknight sequences, though I was unable to try those at the show.
As for how the demo itself played out, first I tried a (relatively) easy stage set in the creepy Halloween themed Spookyland. I avoided buzzsaws, eyeballs and other creepy critters. The level helped introduce me to Commander Video’s new double jump (which really allows for complex stages). While I did a pretty decent job with that stage, the next one, set in Machineland, was a real challenge. The Machineland levels literally build themselves as you progress, right in front of you. You’ll take leaps of faith and avoid mechanical monstrosities. It’s fitting this is one of the later stages in the game, as I wasn’t able to beat it (though I came quite close).
The best thing I gathered from my time with Runner3 is that it’s attempting to be approachable to all sorts of gamers. You can challenge yourself with harder branching paths, Impossible levels or Retro levels, but the game doesn’t require it. That’s probably a wise decision, since not everybody is great at platformers. It also feels like this latest game is bursting at the seams with content, so replay value should be very high. I’m happy I got a chance to demo Runner3, and wish Choice Provisions the best of luck in making this title a huge success. Stay tuned to oprainfall in the future for more news about Commander Video’s latest antics as it gets closer to release.
2018Bit. Trip RunnerChoice ProvisionsCommander VideoPCrunner3Switch