Jul 222011

Imagine this: you take up the mantle of a pixelated man who is persistently running and jumping through an equally pixelated world, just trying to survive. Unfortunately, the game we’re talking about here isn’t BIT.TRIP RUNNER, but rather its red-headed stepbrother from Xbox Live Indie Games entitled Rainbow Runner. If this game was intended to be an homage to CommanderVideo’s WiiWare saga, then it definitely fell short, but there are a few things that it did well.



The foreground graphics (we’ll get to the background in a minute) look pretty nice. The main, nameless character and his foes are composed of brightly colored pixels. Movement is all very fluid and and the enemy designs are very reminiscent of old arcade games.


The old arcade game look ties in well with the way Rainbow Runner plays. In every aspect it is an old school score-attack arcade game. You simply run through every level shooting or avoiding enemies and obstacles, trying to better your score in each of the game’s modes. This is a great game mechanic for those who may be looking for a throwback game to remind them of the days they were pumping quarters into an arcade cabinet, but with a current-gen twist.



Looking past the action in the foreground will reveal a grayscale and very generic cityscape in the background. It looks like the same small set of buildings over and over again on a loop, much like the backgrounds for running or driving scenes in old episodes of The Flintstones. This wouldn’t be such a bother if the transition between each boss and the level after it wasn’t so seamless, because you will see the same looping generic background for the entirety of your journey through the world of Rainbow Runner


As was previously stated, it’s possible that the developer of Rainbow Runner intended it to be an homage to BIT.TRIP RUNNER, but if that’s the case then they made a very poor decision by taking out one of BIT.TRIP RUNNER’S most important game mechanics — rhythmically pressing buttons in sync with the game’s soundtrack. Rainbow Runner’s ambient speedster trance music simply serves as a backdrop for the game’s very non-rhythmic gameplay.


Another shortcoming of Rainbow Runner is the color-changing mechanic. Player’s can change the color of their character to red, yellow, blue, or green by pressing the button of the corresponding color on the Xbox 360 controller. The point is to match your color to the enemy, obstacle, or projectile you can’t avoid in order to cancel out any damage you may have taken if your color didn’t match. The problem with this is the pace at which you must simultaneously press the colored buttons while both jumping with either trigger and shooting baddies with the right thumb stick. It felt a little bit like playing a deranged version of Simon and Street Fighter at the same time



If you pick up Rainbow Runner because the title and trailers make you think that playing this game will let you will recapture some of the awe, fun, and emotional attachment to a blob of pixels that you got from playing BIT.TRIP RUNNER then you would be making a big mistake. However, if you are the type of game that loves constantly trying to best your own high score and loves looking at bright colors superimposed over bland backgrounds, then this may be the perfect game for you to check out.

Rainbow Runner

Bright and sparkly visuals with smooth animations, it will keep fans of score-attack arcade games occupied for a long time.Most songs in the soundtrack are bland and indistiguishable from each other, backgrounds are uninteresting, controls are difficult to manage.

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