Endless runner games certainly aren’t anything new. Who here doesn’t have one sitting in their phone somewhere? Maybe you’ve long forgotten about the countless hours spent on running games such as “Temple Run” or “Canabalt,” but the genre certainly hasn’t been slowing down. Many fans of Disney’s film franchise Tron were taken aback when the latest entry in the multimillion dollar series would be one of these countless endless runner games, something we’ve all played at one point and many have just grown sick of seeing everywhere. However, what might surprise both hardcore gamers and long time fans of the films, is how “Tron: Run/r” could very well be the most addictive and challenging running game you will ever play.
There isn’t really much story to speak of in this latest title from Disney Interactive and Sanzaru Games, (recent creator of the Playstation exclusive “Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time”) but what runner game ever has a grand plot behind the challenge? All there is to speak of in terms of some semblance of a plot, is that your program is trying to escape permanent deletion and the only way to make it out alive is running and/or driving your light cycle as fast as you can while avoiding everything the computer throws at you. OK, so maybe this game isn’t winning any awards in terms of a narrative that rivals the likes of “The Last of Us” or “The Witcher 3,” but you don’t go into a running game for story, you go in for the challenge. So, does “Tron: Run/r” live up to such a task?
The answer, my friends, is a resounding yes. “Tron: Run/r” feels like the first kind of runner challenge that’s actually designed more for the hardcore gamer, as opposed to something anyone could just pick up off of Google Play for a dollar. There’s a lot that sets this game apart from all the others you’ve played before it. For example, the production qualities behind “Tron: Run/r” are really impressive. The levels feel like you’ve stepped into the world of Tron: Legacy, with bright and vibrant colors glimmering throughout every level. In addition, the soundtrack offers some really catchy beats that match the stylized nature Tron has become known for, thanks to Daft Punk providing the soundtrack in Legacy. The songs aren’t groundbreaking by any means, but they serve their purpose well in fueling the intensity of the game’s difficulty and adding to the overall experience.
However, what appears to be this game’s biggest strength of all is the tracks themselves. As stated before, these levels are not designed for the casual gamer to pick up on quickly. These levels consistently change in order to throw the player off, and running isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing to get to the end. Gliding, grinding on rails, killing enemies with your disc, in-game bosses, running on walls, using a light cycle, avoiding last minute walls that come out of nowhere; when was the last time you played a runner game that threw so much at you? The challenge in completing these levels can be especially demanding when many of these things are thrown at you all at once. It may cause frustration now and again, but managing to defeat it all and complete your mission feels all the more rewarding because of it.
On the other hand, what may end up being the game’s biggest turn off for buyers is what many will see as a steep price tag. “Tron:Run/r” may only be a downloadable game, and a $20 asking price certainly isn’t the worst in the world, but this is a running game we’re talking about. The production qualities are reasonably high and the three different modes you can try out (Disc, Cycle and Stream) allow for high replay value, but many are already going to be turned off by this being a runner and the learning curve to play it well. Remember, this already wasn’t going to be for everyone, and the price isn’t helping its case. Additionally, the game can be relentless at times in difficulty, with even the first few levels demanding near perfection for a three star rating. The steep learning curve will probably turn off casual users, but the hardcore players will feel right at home in this title.
Overall, the price and difficulty of “Tron: Run/r” may be a turn off for some, but if you ever see this game on sale over the Playstation Network, Xbox Live or Steam, I highly recommend you buy it. Even if it is a runner at its core, the variety of levels, beautiful design and comprehensive challenge of each stage make it a title worth checking out if you’re up for a little trial and error. Not to mention, if everyone pours enough of their money into purchasing this game, maybe Walt Disney Pictures will reconsider making Tron 3 a reality, and we all should definitely make sure that happens.