There are a couple games out there I can point to as very specific examples of why I love indie games. Braid, as one such example, combining an excellent world, story, art and puzzles into a fine mesh of beautiful gameplay. There’s simply nothing else like it. Newly added to that same list is Runman: Race Around the World and it’s for all the exact opposite reasons.
Runman: Race Around the world is a fairly simple platformer which borrows heavily from the platformers of the SNES generation. You’ll have your character, Runman, and the idea is to get from one stage to the next without dying. Upon completion of each level you’ll be allowed to continue on to the next level via the world map ala’ Super Mario World-style. You continue on to many lands and play in many different levels; yada, yada, yada. It’s all standard platformer procedure, really, but Runman does it with grace, nuance, and a badass sense of style.
- Runman: Race Around the World is a brilliantly simple game. It doesn’t ask for much and, in turn, it delivers brilliant gameplay in the same vein as Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog for the yesteryear consoles (SNES, Genesis). Actually, now that I think about it, combine Mario’s playful aesthetics with Sonic’s thrilling speedy gameplay and you’ll basically have Runman: Race Around the World. It’s simply that much fun.
- Each world ends in the culmination of a race between you and a giant monster. Well it’s not so much a race as it is you running for your life. These monsters range from giant Tornadoes to, I shit you not, a Shark Submarine. These were actually my favorite levels as they were masterfully designed to be both challenging and very fun at the same time.
- The game itself isn’t very long, but it comes with a couple choice features that can extend the gameplay. First you get medals depending on your score at the end of each level. They aren’t too easy to get either so hardcore gamers will have fun trying to get every last one of them. Also you can save your ghost and race against your own time as many times as you want. This, in turn, can actually help you achieve more medals.
- Runman: Race Around the World has a very simplistic style. In fact, it would almost be too simplistic if it weren’t for the fact that the games hokey story and hokey music went so well together. Simply put, the game’s style is absolutely perfect and, in fact, better than most other game styles I’ve seen lately.
- The developers went with an odd choice for music. Instead of just slapping together some happy-go-lucky music from a stock music site they decided to mix in some classic blues mixed with some banjo and other hokey instruments like the fiddle. It delivers and excellent and, albeit, hurried pace to the game that makes it all the more worthwhile.
- As one would expect, Runman’s story is also fairly simplistic. Some may see this as a bad thing, but I find it to be perfect. Sometimes you just want to jump into a colorful world filled with simple goals and hopelessly addictive gameplay, and that’s exactly what Runman gves you. Nothing more and nothing less.
- The icing on the top for Runman is that it’s 100% free. This is easily a game that could sell for $5, especially if it were on Xbox Indie Games. For this reason you should definitely download this game. It’d be worth it if you had to pay, it’s doubly so because it’s free.
- The one thing that I continually had a problem with was slow downs. Now I’m currently playing on a fairly beefy notebook, one that can run most high end games with little fault. But, for one reason or another, during various points of Runman the game would slow down to a crawl and more than once did I die because of it. I’m probably making it into a bigger deal than it actually is, but a game as simplistic as Runman shouldn’t be having issues with modern PCs.
Runman is everything we love about indie games. It’s colorful, unique, fun, and free. Go download this game right now and, if you do have a couple bucks lying around, donate to the developers. These are the types of guys we need making more games so show some support if you can.
Did we mention it was FREE?