I've Got to Run! - Review
For months...MONTHS I tell you....my son has been hyped for Mario Kart 8. Being that he's just getting into the hobby, it's been fun to see him develop as a gamer, and this is the first time he's ever known about a game prior to release and counted down the days. I decided to surprise him by picking it up (no benefit at all to me.......no way I'd want to play it too....or that free copy of Pikmin 3......./sarcasm). Around this time I also was given a review copy of this little game called I've Got to Run! As my son sits down to play Mario Kart for the first time, the disc icon pulsating and waiting for him (let alone the new colorful Pikmin 3 logo he's never seen) he says "Dad, what's this funny looking guy here?" I say "Oh, it's a game I have for review. Try it out sometime if you want to." He goes into Mario Kart, and, as much as I want to sit with him, I go off to do chores and life.
I return later to hear music that is definitely not Mario Kart. My son has stopped playing it and has just been tempted over to IGTR. He's seconds into playing, and confused. I explain the premise: You are Marshmallow Boy, and you've got to run. Is there a demonic force after you? Are you just wanting to be a slimmer marshmallow? Why are you running on a kitchen countertop, followed by a medieval castle, and ending up on the moon? Who knows? I tell him how the developer just made a simple game: press any button to jump. Your jump is always the same. You jump single, or in some modes jump double. One mode lets you speed up or down by picking up icons. He looked puzzled, with a "that's it?" look, but then tried it. He failed a bit, saying "I don't think you can do this." I then replied how the original coder described to me in an email how there's a "perfect bot" of Marshmallow Boy running ahead off screen, and that he was guaranteeing that every jump was able to be made. He got an inquisitive look on his face, and started again.
I'm pretty sure that the best compliment I can give this game is that my 8 year old son has a tendency to tell friends about I've Got to Run! before he goes into the Mario Kart 8 description. At $1.99, it's a thoughtless purchase. I've been reading Miiverse posts that say they bought Mario Kart and had leftover funds, so they picked up IGTR. And that even THEY are happy with that purchase.
This game is not going to blow you out of the water with epic gameplay and insane controls or battle sequences. Your character runs. At a beautiful, consistent framerate that can't even be reproduced well in a demo video. You die, the game starts over. Immediately. No Game Over screen, no "you died"", not even a "this is your high score!" You begin again. And again. And...again. It harkens back to the days of Atari. Remember Kaboom!? Catch the guy. Then, catch the guy. After that, catch the guy. Or ET. Try to get out of the hole. Then, try to get out of the hole. After that, try to get out of the hole. I spent countless hours playing games like Berserk and Pitfall. They were fun for a reason, and those reasons are lost in today's modern gaming. Roy the Marshmallow Boy is running for high score. Even if you get that, there's no achievement "ding" to be heard. Take a pic of your high score screen and brag about it on Miiverse. That's about it.
IGTR falls into the "easy to learn, difficult to master" category. Once you know that every jump is feasibly done, and you know the system isn't cheating you, it becomes addictive and hard to put down. With the newly released Wii U system update, you can quick-boot into this game, and get ten minutes of challenging gameplay in between whatever things you are doing, and don't have to dedicate an entire evening to it.
Overall, I have to say I do highly enjoy this game. If you digitally downloaded Mario Kart and the free subsequent game, you'll currently easily have enough points in the Deluxe Digital Promotion to get about $10 in credit, and $2 of that is a no-brainer for a simple, fun, and addictive game that reminds you of plugging that joystick with one orange button into your Atari and pushing for the high score you could only keep for eternity if you had a Polaroid camera around. Be on the lookout for another article on the development of this game: I've actually had a few warm emails back and forth with the creator, Syrenne McNulty, and hope to learn a bit about where IGTR spawned from and where 4 Corner Games plans to go from here.