Also On: PS4
Publisher: Fair Play Labs
Developer: Fair Play Labs
Endless runners on the Vita have been pretty hit and miss. Even though you’d expect the genre to be a natural fit on Sony’s handheld — it’s thrived on mobile devices, after all — to date, there have been just as many duds (see the awful bad Z-Run, and the awfully racist Run Like Hell) as there have been games worth checking out.
With such a spotty track record, it’s a welcome surprise to discover that Color Guardians falls into that latter category. In contrast with those two aforementioned games, it’s well-made, it’s nice to look at, and, most importantly, it’s fun.
Of course, if you want to get all technical about it, it’s also not a traditional endless runner. It has less in common with, say, Run Sackboy Run, than it does with a game like Runner 2. Both, after all, take the usual endless runner conceit — start at Point A and run until you hit something — and add in a welcome dose of platforming.
What does that mean? Only that it adds in a Point B. That may not sound like much, but in practice it means that Color Guardians — like Runner 2 before it — breaks down into more easily-digested levels, rather than just having one long, infinite level. Not only that, it means you get level bosses — and honestly, there’s just something more satisfying about beating a boss than there is with running longer than you ever have before.
While Color Guardians may hew close to the same formula as Runner 2, however, I don’t think I’d put it in quite the same league. It doesn’t have the same strong writing or sense of humour, for starters. The plot is your standard “bad guy stole all the colours” trope, and it doesn’t do much to build on that or make it more interesting. Likewise, while the game may be colourful, it doesn’t come close to matching Runner 2’s sense of style. It all feels very “normal”, for lack of a better descriptor; Color Guardians never conveys the kind of sparkle that made Runner 2 so incredible.
But it doesn’t really need to, either. Not when all its other competitors lag so far behind it. Color Guardians may not be one of the greatest games you’ll ever play, but it’s still clearly above average — and all things considered, that makes it a pretty welcome addition to the Vita’s library.