Not to knock on little guys like 13AM Games, but if you told me that one of the best games I played out of 10 or so on Friday at PAX East 2015 was going to be Runbow? I don’t even know, friend.
This game was a surprise. Up-to nine player local multiplayer, exclusive to the Wii U. Runbow is a twitch-reflex, fighting, racing platformer with fun modes, costumes and tons of colors.
How do you get nine players? That’s sort of interesting. You take four Wii Remotes, four nunchucks (or classic controllers) and hook them altogether. That makes eight. You get the ninth with the Gamepad.
The gist of the main “Run” mode is this: each player starts on the left side of a level. They run and jump over and through obstacles on their way to a trophy. They can snap power-ups along the way, pummel other players or, generally, worry about their own survival. Fall into a pit or lag too far behind, and you’re toast.
The crazy comes into play when platforms are colored. As a new background color wipes into the screen, all platforms of that color vanish. Standing on or jumping for a green right before the green background pulses in? You’re dead.
The game also randomly flips the whole world over and reverses control. Some power-ups cause you to switch places with a random player. That sounds great, unless you’re in front and you randomly pick up the switch and find yourself in the back or, even worse, falling into a pit.
Things get exceptionally competitive in Runbow. We were yelling at the developers, they were yelling at us and then one of us won and all hell broke loose. It’s a good time.
13AM Games is offering several modes. There’s a King of the Hill mode, an Arena mode and a unique take on Run where the holder of the GamePad tries to drop items in and control the world so that the runners lose. I really dug that one. The GamePad users powers are on a cooldown, so you can’t just spam bombs and lightning bolts. You have to wait, catch the runners in inopportune times and then strike.
Runbow does not have a release date yet, but it is due exclusively for the Wii U (so far). We’ll have more on the crazy game as it comes.