Endless runners are a dime a dozen and available at cheap and easy prices so new kids on the block need to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Top Run does this by doing a full-on nostalgia trip straight back to the 80s. Embracing all the pop culture with aplomb, does Top Run still have what it takes to make an endless runner have staying power in 2020?
Firstly, as an 80s child let’s just appreciate how Top Run goes all in. From ripping off Top Gun’s logo, the enemies wearing shellsuits and walkmans to the trophies and achievements all being references to films and song lyrics – this game loves the 80s. You can tell it’s a labour of love but how much is stuffed in – right down to the optional CRT scanlines.
Turning off all the retro game graphics reveals a decent looking runner that is procedurally generated. There are two worlds which are just reskins of each other as you run endlessly forward. You’ll be collecting pixels and completing XP challenges to unlock harder difficulties to try.
You have the ability to double jump and shoot up to 3 floppy disks that have a cooldown charge. You need to choose when to kill and when to avoid although as runs get harder avoidance becomes harder to do. The game places ledges on a top, middle and bottom plain so all too quickly you’ll need to clear something quickly. You can do this with power-ups to freeze enemies or triple your ammo for example.
Enemies have their own attacks and charms too. Some of them move between lanes and shoot back at you and as you only start with 3 shots yourself, you’ll need to prioritise these to keep going. Your last support comes from friends trapped to phone boxes you can rescue. Each one has a different special ability like a lane blast or a bomb that can eliminate everyone on screen. These are handy and timely.
The only mild issue I had with Top Run was that the upgrade system felt a bit underwhelming. Pixels are the currency you collect and they unlock additional floppy disk slots and extend the power-up timer and that is really it. You can unlock more skins for you and your trusty doggo sidekick and that’s it. You also have a random space invaders game as a bonus to play but it’s sluggish to play.
Top Run is a very competent runner with a great theme and aesthetic. I really enjoyed my time with it for the first few hours but the lack of progression after that made me feel like it seen everything quite early on. Good fun though!
Review copy provided by publisher.
Fun if a little short of new ideas late game, Top Run is a well designed and very enjoyable endless runner.
All that pop culture.
Shows all of its moves quite early in the game.
Lack of tangible progression means that late game is a bit of a grind for nothing.
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