Runbow Review – Put Down Mario Kart & Smash Bros, This Indie Party Game is Amazing

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One of the main reason I purchased a Wii-U was for some friendly competition. Already owning the staple party games like Mario Kart, Smash Bros., and some others on the PC I’m always searching for new ones. Then I found Runbow. Quickly Runbow has become a top competitor when choosing a party game to play with a group. The game is easy to learn and a blast if you can get a big group together. Supporting up to nine players, things can get pretty hectic. Or maybe you are looking for a quick fifteen-minute game; Runbow offers that with its Adventure mode or online play. But be warned as a “quick fifteen minutes” can easily turn into spending hours on this game.

Runbow is a fasted paced action platformer party game where the background changes colour to match platforms or barriers: which makes them disappear. Depending on the game mode you’ll need the best time to receive medals (each level is rated out of three medals) or beat up others to be the last one alive. As the background changes every one has two seconds to move and timing your jumps is key when playing against others. Setting up jumps where you bounce off another player’s head causing them to plummet to their death and you to get a boost to safety will get the blood pumping. A tip to remember is if you can’t see it doesn’t exist, so when the platforms disappear just forget they were ever there. It’s a simple concept but very fun, especially with a group of friends (up to nine of them!).

Supporting all the different Wii-U controllers you can grab your favourite and get started. I mostly used the gamepad because I loved the off-screen play; although it doesn’t matter what controller is used. I tried them all and the controls are fluent and won’t give any advantages or disadvantages; it’s purely preference. The controls are simple to pick up and easy to learn which is great because it allows anyone to join in on the fun. There is a slight challenge getting the small air combos down but after failing a few times you get the hang of it.


“There are hours of replay-ability in the Adventure and Bowhemoth modes, tons of unlockable content, and of course hours of fun online or local multiplayer.”

There are six different game modes that can be played. For single player or co-op you have Adventure mode. Adventure mode is like a campaign where there is a set of levels and you are rated out of three medals on how well you do. If you find Adventure too easy, try out Bowhemoth; which is a harder version giving you less time to complete and harder obstacles to overcome. Next there is Arena where you want to be last one alive to acquire points or guard an area on the level in king of the hill (these two modes are where your Smash Bros. skills will come in handy). In Run mode you want to be the first person to make it to the end in a crazy race. My favourite mode is Colour Master. Colour Master takes the Run mode and kicks it up a notch by giving control of the changing background colour to the player with the gamepad. Now playing Run you get pretty good at timing your jump as the background changes to land on platforms as they appear, but when that power is given to a fellow player it shows how this game shines as party game. The gamepad holder will quickly have everyone at their throat (in a good way) as he consistently messes with the other players.

When first inviting nine friends over to try this crazy mode I was ready for a cluster of confusion; to my surprise it was fairly easy to keep track of your character; a great deal of that was due to the art style. The art style is simplistic but works amazingly, you always know what you can and can’t jump on and with the variation of characters you’ll never lose yourself. The amount of guest characters staring in Runbow like shovel knight is another reason to love the game.

Runbow Screen 4

Nine players jumping around has a pretty big audio tree, having to prioritize what plays when, how soon a sound can play after just triggered it can get pretty messy. With each character doing different actions at different times all the sounds have to work together. I never thought the audio sounded off or a sound effect was triggered too many times when everyone jumped almost simultaneously. The music adds intensity and has the urgency that just makes you want to run!

If you love party games, Runbow is definitely a game to add to your library, even for the single player Adventure mode it’s worth it. There are hours of replay-ability in the Adventure and Bowhemoth modes, tons of unlockable content, and of course hours of fun online or local multiplayer. With six different game modes you’ll never get bored. This is a game you don’t want to miss out on; so pick your favourite controller, invite some friends over, and start the party.

***A Wii U review code was provided by the Publisher***


The Good

• Extremely fun for single or multiplayer
• Fun characters from popular indie titles
• Lots of unlockable content
• Great character customizing


The Bad

• Some levels can be frustrating because of skill level