Tag Archives: Arena

We live in a rainbow of chaos in Runbow

To me, there are two kinds of platformers: good and bad. Just kidding. I’m talking about ones where the platforming exists as a means to get you from point A to point B so you can do action C, and ones where the platforming itself, the jumping and landing and getting from spot to spot safely, is the entire crux of the game.

I like both to varying degrees, though I certainly prefer the former, enjoying more laid-back jumping like in Sound Shapes, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, and Sugar Cube Bittersweet Factory over punishing affairs like So Many Me, Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, and Super Mario Brothers: The Lost Levels. Those are almost instantly frustrating and what I like to call un-fun, though there is a masochistic side of me that continues to return to them, to see if I maybe have the twitch-based skills to jump quick with godly precision. Runbow is a mix of these two platformer types, with some levels being a breeze and others being the sort of wall I bang my head against for fifteen minutes, dying over and over and over until I get the pattern down perfectly.

First off, I didn’t choose Runbow, it chose me by being one of July’s freebies on Xbox One and its bright, colorful appearance. I believe it originally came out for the Wii U a couple years back and was later ported to PC, New Nintendo 3DS, and Xbox One from 13AM Games, an indie team based in Canada. Its origin stems from the 2014 Global Game Jam, and the quick elevator pitch is that it’s an action platformer focused on players trying to reach a trophy at the end of each level, dealing with obstacles, enemies, and vanishing platforms along the way. Players can perform a double jump as well as a punch attack to defeat enemies or gain extra reach while jumping up or horizontally. The rub is that the background of each level constantly shifts between a cycle of colors, causing platforms and hindrances of the same color as the background, such as blockades and spikes, to disappear/reappear. Levels are timed, and you are awarded either one, two, or three coins for beating it under a specific time.

I’m currently working my way through the singe-player Adventure mode, which tasks you with saving Poster District from the evil Satura. Why? Not sure, and it doesn’t really matter. This is just an excuse to complete a bunch of levels–140 in total–until you can take her on yourself four separate times. What is nice is that if you are mainly gunning for Satura, you can forge your own path to her, sticking to green (easier) levels instead of following yellow or red ones (harder). The map is broken into four quadrants, with each one its own theme containing unique challenges and dangers. You can play as a number of different characters, some from famous indie games, like Shantae and Shovel Knight, but they all jump the same as far as I can tell so it doesn’t really matter who you go with; I like male Red Hue dressed as a lumberjack, personally, but you do you.

I’ve not tried it yet, but there’s a mode called The Bowhemoth, which is described as a single, ultra-difficult challenge that takes place in the belly of a colossal beast. Evidently, it will test the skills of even the toughest platforming veterans, so I’m greatly concerned. I’ll give it a shot, but might have to *ahem* bow out if the jumping is too tough. I have, however, tried out the online competitive modes of Arena and King of the Hill, both of which were too chaotic for me to grasp and enjoy. I often found myself unable to find myself on the screen and just hoped for the best, which went as well as you can expect.



My goal for Runbow is to complete all 140 levels. Yup, you heard me. Not three-star every one, but at least complete them and fill in the poster map. After that, I think I’ll be done with it altogether as I’m not interested in its online competitive modes or its co-op action. Still, it’s a fun, seemingly friendly product, with good tunes and a neat gameplay mechanic that has you strategizing each and every jump. Stay tuned for the eventual game review haiku, hopefully.

From Bloodletter to Grand Champion in just 30 minutes

At this point, I’m kind of drifting. I’ve beaten several games now–Borderlands, Dragon Age: Origins, and Pokemon HeartGold to name a few–and don’t really plan to buy anything new until LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 comes out at the end of June (though I’m not promising I won’t get something new if it is cheap and shiny enough to catch my eyes). I’m also having a hard time going back and replaying some previously beaten games; that said, I did pop back in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion last night to see if there was anything worth doing.

And there was: the Arena.

I’m not sure why I didn’t tackle the Arena questline sooner. Maybe I was scared at what it would throw at me or maybe it was because I just was no good at confrontations during my early levels, mostly because I was relying too much on throwing fireballs. But this time around, as a bow-wielding LV. 19 Bosmer elf…well, I made quick work of all my enemies. Seriously, I went from being a Bloodletter to Myrmidon to Warrior to Gladiator to Hero to Champion to Grand Champion in under thirty minutes without getting attacked more than, oh, five times.

My strategy was simple. I zoomed in with my bow, waited for the gates to lower, and loosed an arrow or two before my challenger even got halfway across the arena. Then I hurried back inside, collected my monetary reward, and accepted the next battle to do it all over again. Rinse and repeat. Take a small break once to restock on arrows. The only fight I had trouble with was against three enemies: a soldier, an archer, and a mage, but they all fell to my glass arrows in time. Plus, my bow is powered by electricity. Don’t ask.

The last fight, the big one, the tune-in-and-watch, was against an orc. I guess he was supposed to be tough or intimidating. He wasn’t. He took four arrows to drop, but still, he didn’t even reach me at that point as I skated backwards to avoid his sword’s swing. Sigh. No challenge at all. And six easy, quick Achievements, but you really only need to see one to get the full effect:

Grand Champion, Arena (50G): Completed the Arena Questline

Upon exiting the Arena, you’re greeted by the Adoring Fan, who loves you and admires you and just wants to follow you around. Pretty annoying, and he only spoke a few lines. I told him no, but I might change my mind in the future and lead him straight into troll territory.

But yeah, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I should play you more. You do have a lot of “easy” Achievements left to unlock; by easy, I mean they are relatively straightforward and are just based off quest progression and not skill or luck or doing something random (like killing X deer or making X health potions with alchemy). Maybe I’ll try to finish up the Fighters Guild questline next. Or the Dark Brotherhood. Mwahaha?