Without any question, Runbow was one of the best Wii U eShop games out there. It was a good single player game but an even better multiplayer one. Having some mates round playing was a blast and I would go as far as saying it was one of the best multiplayer experiences to be found on the Wii U, period. The game has now made its way over to a handheld system for the first time in the shape of the New Nintendo 3DS, so how well does it make the jump?
First things first, if you have never heard of Runbow before, it is a pickup and play 2D platformer in which players aim to be the first to reach a trophy at the end of each level. Timing is very important as the background colours are constantly changing, meaning that platforms start appearing and disappearing, which then means you either have to take a long way or wait it out. It’s certainly a mechanic that keeps you on your toes all the time because one second you’re cruising through and the next you start losing precious time.
Runbow Pocket focuses on shorter levels that can be beaten quite quickly if you do get a good rhythm going and the more you do go back to levels the more you know which route is the best to take as you learn which platforms will disappear and appear at certain times. You are also able to perform a double jump as well as unleash attacks to defeat enemies or gain extra reach whilst jumping. It’s easier said than done but once you have mastered the few controls the game gives you, you will be flying through the levels.
Luckily enough then, the single-player mode in Runbow Pocket comes with over 140 missions, which will keep you busy for a good length of time. Some of the levels are certainly not great, however, with some being a bit too simple while others almost seem like they require luck over skill, meaning that first time through the level is almost certainly not going to end up with you having anywhere near good enough level time.
Having said that, some of the levels are pretty great, it’s just those unfortunate few that bring it down a notch. There is also the Bowhemoth mode which can be very punishing, but it will test everything you have learned about Runbow Pocket and completing some of these levels can leave you feeling rather gifted at the end.
Unfortunately for those hoping that the multiplayer in the New Nintendo 3DS version was as good as the Wii U’s, it isn’t. So all those fond memories you had previously whilst playing with friends you can forget about here as unforgivably, there is no local multiplayer. Online multiplayer is still here, but it’s very much hit and miss. It also only allows playing with a group of 4 rather than 9 as it was on the Wii U, which makes races a lot less frenzied and a little less fun.
Runbow Pocket is a little rough around the edges and could have done with a little more refinement. It plays quite well on the New Nintendo 3DS but of course, in comparison to the original, the visuals take a bit of a hit even though it’s a very simple looking game to begin with. The framerate, for the most part, is fairly consistent but can on occasion drop slightly, it’s not much but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
Overall, Runbow Pocket is just as fun as it was on the Wii U with plenty of content, plenty of costumes and characters to unlock as you go through. There is just the one pretty big omission from this release that stops it being a good replacement for other versions, that being the local multiplayer. If you can get over that or if you are only looking to get the game for its single player component, then there is plenty to enjoy about Runbow Pocket. It’s a fun, colourful game that is worth jumping in and out of, which is what the New Nintendo 3DS is great for.