TRON RUN/r review
Disney's TRON series seemed to be dead following the cancellation of the film TRON 3, so it came as quite a surprise to see that they were releasing a new TRON game of any kind -- even one as light on story as TRON RUN/r.
As a huge TRON fan, I was excited to see Disney poking at the franchise even a little bit - but is the game itself worth it? Let's take a look.
Gameplay and Controls
As the title might imply, this is an endless runner game with two basic level types to choose from: Disc, where you run and avoid or attack obstacles with your identity disc, and Cycle, a timed level where you travel by lightcycle, avoiding obstacles and traveling through gates to collect more time. Both modes are difficult - in a good way - but the lightcycle levels are especially unforgiving; you usually start with a paltry few seconds and must hit almost every gate to collect enough seconds just to make it to the next gate.
This game is very challenging, but not frustratingly so, and the difficulty increases at a very smooth rate. Death is frequent but you can restart the levels quickly and easily. The controls are great and work without any delay, which is excellent because you need precise timing to make it through these courses.
The wide variety of obstacles keeps players on their toes and prevent the courses from becoming stale - some obstacles must be avoided while others have to be destroyed, and enemies will also pop up to attack you. My only complaint about the obstacles is that some of them don't appear until you're almost on top of them, making them very difficult to avoid unless you've already memorized the level.
There's a few different ways to travel through the Disc levels besides running - you can also glide, run along walls, and grind on rails (this is the most difficult one, since you must keep your balance with the joystick) - which also keep the levels from growing stale.
Bottom line, this game is a lot of fun to play - so much so that I've hardly put it down since buying it.
Graphics and Music
When it comes to looks, this game is beautiful and definitely captures the feel of the TRON universe. The overall style is strongly influenced by the film TRON Legacy, but with candy-colored light lines. The variety of colors make the levels a lot easier to navigate, since different types of obstacles and enemies come in distinctly different colors.
The music, while not as iconic as the soundtracks of the films, is good and fits the fast-paced nature of the game. Each level's unique music track is high-energy and manages not to be repetitive, even if you need to attempt a level hundreds of times (as I have).
Story, Characters, and More
One of the game's drawbacks is that it has very little in the way of story or characterization. What little plot there is comes through in voiceover snippets (apparently spoken by the computer system itself) that mention impending deletion and the villain from the first film, the MCP.
That said, there are a decent number of different characters to choose from in the basic version of the game, including generic TRON Legacy-style female and male programs, as well as three major characters from the original film: Tron, Yori, and lesser villain Sark. All of them can be customized with several different light line colors, but their costumes are unchangeable.
According to a review from Steam user Vaelsh, the DLC they accessed also allowed players to play as a much wider variety of TRON characters, including ones from the (unfortunately short-lived) cartoon series TRON Uprising. This DLC has since been pulled because it was incomplete and still being tested; presumably it will be released in its completed form later.
So, is it worth the price?
So finally, the big question: is it worth buying? Well... yes and no. The game itself is definitely worth getting, but unless you're a die-hard TRON fan willing to pay full price to try and convince Disney that the series is still viable, I might recommend waiting for TRON RUN/r to go on sale. Paying full price isn't horrible, but the game could use a little something more to be worth it.
This game does have a few downsides too, such as the long loading times (even on PC), a few bugs, and minor pay-to-win aspects - you can purchase in-game currency which can in turn be used to buy a companion that doubles your score, making high scores less a reflection of skill than of how much money you're willing to drop on the game.
Overall, this is a well-made, beautiful, fun game that is absolutely worth playing. But it might be worth waiting a little while to get a discount.