Friday, April 29, 2016.
by John Elliott

TRON RUNr Box art Growing up I'd never heard of Tron, to to be honest here I have to admit that I didn’t watch the original movie until a friend decided to do a Tron marathon and watch the original 80's movie followed up by Tron: Legacy, the sequel that was received to mixed reviews. After watching the original I just didn’t get the appeal of it, but I imagine at the time it was quite the technical marvel. Although the original didn’t do it for me, Tron: Legacy instantly became one of my movie favorites, and even though some of the game adaptations weren’t the best, I still enjoyed playing them to delve further into the Tron universe. That leads me to this review.

Developer Sanzaru Games Inc. and Disney Interactive have released another Tron title, this time called Tron Run/r, which as the name suggests, is a runner based game, and and given how games of this type have fared before, this can be a good or a bad thing. There are a few great runners out there but there are also a ton of knock offs, wannabes, and downright garbage titles trying to catch in on the casual gaming genre of “runners.” So, does Tron Run/r fall into the good category, or into the realm of shareware and crappy programs?

There are three types of game modes available in Tron Run/r including Disc, Cycle, and Stream. The first mode, Disc, is what I’ve come to know as your typical runner, but unlike most that I have played where it’s a side scroller, this title has turned it into a first person view where you run, jump and smash through 3D environments while grabbing collectibles throughout the levels. You'll also be able to use your Disc (hence the game mode name) to assist in your challenge.

As you progress through more and more levels you'll find that you will add in a few new moves into your repertoire of skills such as sliding, wall running, and gliding, all which help you to navigate through the levels. Of course, as you move through the game the difficulty increases, often to my frustration given the spikes, and it had me restarting quite a few levels as I adjusted to the new mechanics. This is not a deal breaker by any means, just something worth mentioning.

The next mode, Cycle, is the mode I enjoyed most, but it makes sense given that I have always enjoyed cycle games of all kinds from unicycles, bicycles, and of course motorbikes. In the Cycle Mode you race against light cycles through a variety of different circuits while doing your best to get to the next checkpoint making sure you have ample time to finish the course. You'll find yourself up against other racers who are doing their best to either knock you out of the race or to box you in to slow you down. The only negative I could say about this mode is it’s a little lackluster in the actions you can do and the skills you use when compared to the Disc Mode.

The final mode is the Stream Mode, is a mash up of the two previous modes combined into what is best described as an Endless Runner. Overall it's a great mode to challenge players who have mastered the previous modes. Basically you’ll run through mashed up versions of the courses where you will switch back and forth between the two mode types.

Throughout all the gameplay what is perfectly clear is how damn good the controls are compared to other 'runner' games where the controls do not work at all. In Tron Run/r's case the developers got it right, providing anyone who picks this game up with intuitive controls that respond how you would expect. The only reason you can blame the controls in this game is totally on the user’s end, which means "its your fault" if you die.

Graphically, this game looks exactly how I would hope when compared to the great visuals of Tron Legacy (the movie). That being said, you shouldn’t expect it to be a high caliber graphical experience, but the simplicity is what makes it a great runner in itself. The focus is on the controls and creating a fun game rather than a AAA visual experience that may look pretty on the outside but lack substance on the inside. The sounds and music combines well with the visuals to polish off the atmosphere and world of Tron with some definite similarities between the movie and game.

Tron Run/r is a lot of fun, and if you’re into this genre it would make a great game pick up. Heck, for those who who love the movie, and even for those not into Tron at all, this game deserves some serious consideration. For me, being a fan of the genre and Tron: Legacy, I feel confident giving the game 'two thumbs up' and will be popping back into it for those quick gaming sessions that are a great break during a busy week.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.9 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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