The Moneyless Gamer 002: RUNMAN

Welcome back, my impoverished friends. Apologies for those of you hanging on waiting for a free gaming fix: my laptop has tragically broken, leaving me without anything to write with, or about. But before it died, I whipped the last ounces of life out of it with Runman: Race Around The World.

The absolute mirror image of the last Moneyless recommendation, Time Fcuk, this is also a platformer. That is where the similarities end. Where Time Fcuk was dark, eerie and confusing, Runman is the most colourful, joyful and …simplicity-ful game I’ve played this year. Runman3

As it brags amongst its features, “You can’t die!”- fall off the bottom of the level and you just bounce. Runman takes the Sonic model- a super-fast 2d platformer- and simmers it down to its base elements. The game’s primary resource is Momentum (filling the meter is accompanied by children cheering), levels inviting you to speedrun them with layered medals.

The cartoon good looks of Sonic are concentrated down into a beautifully amateurish MS-Paint-meets-crayon-scribbles style. It might look incredibly syrupy- a lot of the enemies just want to hug you (THAT’S TOO SLOW FAST MUST GO FASTER)- but it’s more of a ‘hardcore’, traditional, and above all interactive experience than the recent Prince of Persia game, say.Screw God of War. *That* is a giant boss

But Runman aims for the same feeling- level names like ‘The Awesome Zone’ reveal exactly what the game is about (apart from having a genuinely funny and warm personality): making you feel damn awesome. The very best sugar-rush speed moments match that of the Burnout games, and as your little yellow mascot cheers encouragement (WOO! OH SNAP!), you’re going to have to smile along with him.

The music (old, out-of-copyright Jazz, apparently) fits perfectly with the rest of the game’s (somewhat wonky) tone. If that’s not your cup of tea, I recommend something similarly energetic and manic- Los Campesinos! have the right level of sweet euphoria mixed with punishing sound for the hard bits. Which there are: the game is very much about economising use of the ‘zoom’ ability, to stop yourself bouncing off the wrong walls or awakening pesky enemies, and losing precious Momentum. Boss levels can be frustrating- letting the giant enemy catch up with you means going back to the start of the level, showing just why Runman bounces off the level’s bottom in the first place.

I’m not sure if I like Runman in practice quite as much as I do in theory, but then, in theory, this is the greatest game of all time.Runman1

WOO! Says Runman. NICE! This is a game that expresses itself- and is best expressed- with exclamation marks.




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  1. I’ve played this before, pretty fun game but all of my time is getting eaten alive by Spelunky, you played that at all? It’s kinda like La Mulana, but less sadistic, and with permanent death. I don’t last very long since I’m so bad at platformers other than Castlevania. XD

  2. @OrganizationXII: Spelunky is the absolute daddy of free indie games. (I’ve written about it a few times:
    here and here
    If I find some reason to to do End of Year best of, I’ll probably write about it more.

    @Gamer Syndrome: One day, my friend, one day. I still barely have time to do stuff like finish Batman Arkham Asylum. Patience.

  3. I finally took the time to download this earlier this week (in the process deleting a 10-page assignment I had been working on by accident, but that’s another story), and I’ve been playing it since Tuesday. Beautiful game, awesome gameplay, catchy soundtrack. It’s pure- old-school gaming fun.

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