The first two Runner games have been long-celebrated for their presentation -- rhythm platformers that take the endless runner genre and have a little bit of fun with it. The first game arrived at a time before Temple Run on mobile phones, and felt like a bit (no pun intended) of a premonition of what was to come.
Now, almost a decade after the first game debuted, does the Runner series hold up? Does it transcend the previously Bit.Trip naming dynamic? Well, sort of. Runner3 is fun, and just about what you'd expect from a sequel to the series. But I'm not sure that's enough to make it stand out again.
The gameplay is fairly straight forward. You play as either CommanderVideo or CommandgirlVideo in 27 levels that range from mildly frustrating to feeling impossible. Fans of the series will take comfort in this, though they may be tired of restarting by the time the final level is done with.
The art-style is cute, with a claymation-esque vibe that looks great in motion on the Nintendo Switch, adding to the portability of the game in the Switch's undocked mode. The music is fast-paced and tense, and it helps to nestle the game adjacent to the likes of Thumper, just without the psychological horror.
Runner3 is also packed with indie game fan service and easter eggs for longtime fans. Cameos from characters like Shovel Knight of Shovel Knight and Eddie Riggs from Brutal Legend (What?!!) will put a smile on your face, while added retro challenges will offer the most masochistic of players something to do when they finish the main game.
The entire package is also totally narrated by Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario. Here, though, he's just Charles Martinet, and it works! He's also an unlockable playable character, if that's your thing.
Overall, Runner3 is a neat little package that sits nicely among the indie game scene on the Nintendo Switch. Its levels are packed with branching paths and secrets, but if an endless runner really isn't your jam, this game is probably worth the skip.
Runner3 is now available for Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac. A review copy of the game was provided by the publisher.