Growing up in the 80’s, TRON was always a big favourite. Anything is apt to make it into a video game these days, you know for nostalgic purposes, and TRON is no exception. Our TRON RUN/r review takes a look at the latest endless runner from Disney which is, of course, set in the TRON universe.
The game summary pretty much sums up the gameplay in TRON RUN/r.
Return to the world of TRON with TRON RUN/r, a new lightning fast, action-adventure runner with a twist! Blaze through dynamic circuits, facing-off against virulent adversaries while taking on all challengers. Pack your load outs with dozens of combinations of cycles, suits and powerups. Hone your DISC and CYCLE skills on the 32 included levels, then challenge your friends to the grueling STREAM program that throws endless combinations of modes and levels at you until you crash.
TRON RUN/r has three modes set in The Grid: DISC, CYCLE, and then STREAM. In DISC mode, you’re set down a linear path with your trusty light disc and must make it to the end while collecting bits along the way. Throughout the DISC mode levels, you’ll jump, dodge, wall run, and attack without dying or falling off the edge. Upon completion of the level, you’re awarded up to 3 stars based on your final score. DISC mode lets you take on any level without completing the previous level. Controls are fairly simple: movement is controlled with the left thumb stick, dodging with right thumb stick or left and right buttons, A for jumping, B for sliding, Y to activate power-up, X to interact with items, and right or left trigger to throw your disc.
In CYCLE mode, instead of running with your DISC, you’re pitted against others on light cycles as you swerve through a course marked with Disruptor Hoops, jumps, and more. Each hoop you pass through extends your time, so you really have to watch that you don’t miss them if you want to complete the level. You can also bump opponents and perform tricks off of ramps for more points. As with DISC mode, you’re awarded stars based on your final score. Unlike DISC mode, you must pass the previous level to move onto the next. For CYCLE mode, controls include left thumb stick for movement, right trigger or button for accelerating, left trigger or button for drifting, A or B for tricks, Y for power-ups, and X for attacking.
Finally, STREAM mode is the true endless mode of this endless runner game. Starting at the beginning, you set out and run, jump, dodge, and more until you die — the goal here is to climb the leaderboards and outrun your friends and foes on the randomly generated levels. There are also weekly challenges with rewards in the form of badges should you be able to complete them.
In all modes, you can purchase track elements with bits that help you score higher on each level. You can purchase one power-up and one companion to help you out. Power-ups include items like upgraded discs, bit duplicators, speed boosts, stopping the time (CYCLE mode), and more. You can also destroy power cubes to recharge your depleted power-up during the level. Companions on the other hand give you advantages like erasing nearby threats, doubling score values, automatically collecting bits, and gaining more time when passing through Disruptor Hoops, among others. Once you crash or are hit, you lose your companion. Completing levels earns you more bits which you can then spend to help you achieve higher scores. Should you run out of bits, you can of course purchase some more using real money. The Xbox One version of the game does come with 5,000 bits to start out with though, which is a nice little bonus.
You’ll need the assists as well, as the levels do get increasingly difficult, and attaining a high score to perfect each level becomes harder as well. You won’t be running through all the levels in the game in quick fashion, and there’s always the endless STREAM mode for added replay value.
I know that the original TRON is from the 80s, but the graphics really feel dated. Sure they fit the old TRON universe but they are pretty simple and could definitely use a boost and update without losing that TRON feel, especially considering the game was built using the Unreal 4 engine.
The game also allows you to customize the colour and skin of your character, as well as choose from different cycles.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the game was the sound design. Not only the sound effects, but the pumping EDM tracks which played in the background during the levels which featured music from Giorgio Moroder, and Raney Shockne, as well as remixes by Autechre, Bibio, patten, Joywave, and others.
You would think that a concept like TRON would make for a great endless runner, and while it’s an OK attempt, it didn’t really overly stand out. Being able to purchase power-ups and companions with in-game currency is a cool feature to help customize play style a little bit, but the fact you can run out at times and be “dry” so to speak doesn’t make the game as enjoyable. Of course you can purchase more, but in my opinion micro-transactions should be left for free to play games.
Given that Disney Interactive Studios was the company putting out this game, I would have expected at least some semblance of a story to the game, when in fact it’s just a set of levels to grind through.
All said and done, while it can be fun in short sessions, it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table over and above being a TRON themed endless runner.
If you’re an endless runner fan and a die-hard TRON fan who loves EDM music, you should enjoy TRON RUN/r even though it feels a bit repetitive and doesn’t really bring much new to the table.
The base game goes for $19.99 or $29.99 for the deluxe bundle which includes the Disc Extender Bundle (nine new levels for DISC mode, four new STREAM track elements, six new suits, and three new cycles), OUTLANDS Pack (featuring an alternate game theme, 16 additional levels and 20 new STREAM track elements), and the Season Pass which adds all planned add-on content (including the Disc Extender Bundle). You can also purchase the Disc Extender Bundle separately for $2.99, and the Season Pass separately for $14.99 so you’re saving about $5 if you purchase the deluxe bundle.
Oh, and there’s a free trial you can download to take the game for a spin before deciding if you want to purchase.