Runner3 review for Switch, PC

Platform: Switch
Also On: PC
Publisher: Choice Provisions
Developer: Choice Provisions
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

It should come as no surprise that Runner3 is incredibly difficult. After all, Runner2 was punishingly hard, so if this newest entry in the Commander Video universe makes you want to throw your Switch at the wall…well, that?s pretty much what the game is going for, so by that measure, it?s a success.

However, while Runner3 is hard in the ways you?d expect, calling on you to execute all kinds of perfectly-timed button and d-pad presses in rapid succession, it?s also hard in ways that, in a certain light, seem almost unfair.

See, Runner3 is absolutely gorgeous. While Runner2 was certainly no slouch in the looks department, here it feels like Choice Provisions have taken things to a whole new level. The background is full of all kinds of insane details, and everything seems to pop off the screen. Not only that, Runner 3 is often more 2.5D than 2D, with the game playing around with perspectives to show off more of its world.

By itself, that?s definitely a good thing — Runner2 had a distinctive sense of humour, so it?s neat to see Runner3 being able to take advantage of newer platforms to take its jokes even further.

The thing is, when you?re trying to process jumps and kicks and ducks at rapidfire speed, extra details are the last thing you want. In fact, they?re more of a distraction than anything else. Having sentient stop signs flying at the screen while you?re trying to decide exactly when to jump can throw you off, and having you suddenly round a bend without any kind of warning pulls you out of the rhythm that the game tries so hard to build. Crazy difficulty spikes come with the territory when it comes to Runner games; distracting graphics on top of the world speeding by you are something else entirely.

And it?s a shame that the game turned out that way, because otherwise Runner3 seems like it would have been a fine addition to the canon. The tracks live up to the very best the previous game had to offer, forcing you to think quickly and move around in all kinds of unexpected directions in very short timespans. On top of that, as I said, the game has the same quirky sense of humour that made the previous entry so much fun.

I feel kind of bad criticizing a game for being too inventive and embracing its vision a little too much — but that?s exactly what I?m going to do here. I?m not going to begrudge Runner3 for going all in on the things that have made the franchise so enjoyable in the first place…but, at the same time, there?s a fine line between ?just enough? and ?way too much?, and Runner3 definitely crosses it.

Choice Provisions provided us with a Runner3 Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-