GrooVR launches The Runner

Runner, watch out! The security forces of the evil Zy-Tek Corporation are coming for you! To escape, hop on your moto and follow your guide Lyra through the music-driven neon landscape of Empire City. This is a fast paced chase where you shoot down drones and more.

Note: Runner is not available for Note 4 users.

 

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2 Comments

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    Tyrfillich

    I just bought this the other day and I really enjoyed it - this is my favorite GrooVR visualisation. That said I have a lot of feedback to contribute to help The Runner live up to the bar it sets for itself.

    Pros:

    • The aesthetic is top-notch. I'm a huge Tron nerd, and a Shadowrun player for two decades now. Light-cycle car chase through a neon future-city? Big friggin' check! 
    • The chase escalates in a way that feels exciting and logical. You start off being swooped by drones, before you start getting police cruisers trying to box and swipe you; followed by more drones, police blockades, and an extended road duel with an APC hell-bent on smashing you off the road. Finally, you get attacked by a helicopter. This kept the excitement building throughout the whole chase - just as you're starting to get used to what's going on, Zy-Tek throws something bigger at you. It definitely builds the tension in a "what the hell did I do" way. 
    • The animation is beautifully fluid and has some nice details. At a brief point of calm, Lyra gestures to you to turn right up ahead; it's the small things like this that go a long way in helping deepen the immersion. The cars chasing you move smoothly, and the way the drones move is quick and nimble without being jerky, so well done. 
    • The environment changes are smooth and feel like natural transitions. Moving from tunnel to freeway to side-street feels fluid, like an actual chase would.

    Cons:

    • The biggest complaint I have is The Runner doesn't loop neatly. At the end of the run (when you re-enter the tunnels after dodging the helicopter) the visualisation noticeably jumps back to the beginning because the beginning and end aren't synced up. This is especially jarring if you're not facing directly ahead when it loops. Maybe if it's too difficult to have a smooth loop at speed from a technical standpoint, maybe have the player and Lyra slow down and stop for a moment to check a map, or to catch their breath after a door slams shut behind them. This would make it easier to loop The Runner smoothly as well as feeling like a natural action - as it stands presently, the sudden shift from end back to beginning is really bad. 
    • The shooting mechanic feels tacked on. It's definitely a nice option to have available, but it doesn't actually do anything. I actually thought The Runner was similar to a rail shooter, where shooting particular enemies or objects would result in a path branch or a different ending... it was really disappointing that nothing happens save for increasing your score counter by 1 for each drone shot down. An option to disable the shooting aspect as well as the few drones that swoop directly in front of you would be nice; but adding shot-based path branches would add tons of replayability and a nice feeling of exploration to The Runner. 
    • The lack of entities not involved in the chase is noticeable in places. It makes sense in the train tunnels, but there isn't a single civilian car on the freeway or side-street; and it makes the chase through those areas feel empty. 
    • The camera movement for the player breaks the immersion at times; mostly when the bike makes a sharp turn but the player remains facing straight ahead. At its worst you're basically sitting side-on and facing almost backwards. I figure this is probably to keep the experience as comfortable as possible; but it would be nice to have an option to lock the camera's central point in alignment with the bike - that way you could still look around, but your surroundings would shift appropriately to match where you're driving, much like a real motorcycle. Again, it's an immersion thing. 
    • The music doesn't have much of an effect on the surrounding environment or chase. I thought The Runner would be similar to Audiosurf in that the speed, length or difficulty could be influenced by the music - slow, comfortable music for a similar experience; or bass-heavy, high BPM if you want to blast through the cityscape. Unfortunately this isn't the case - although the music does get represented with some nice audiobar and pulse effects in places, it's effectively choosing a song to play over the top of a good chase scene. This part was a pretty big letdown, to be honest.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this but there is definitely room for improvement that would take The Runner from being a neat way of enjoying a song or two, and turn it into a massive, definitive experience all on its own. I'm looking forward to more updates or content for this; I would love to see this become something I could accidentally lose several hours at a time in. 7/10, would recommend!

    Edited by Tyrfillich
  • Avatar
    Tyrfillich

    Accidental double-post and no Delete Post button. Sorry!

    Edited by Tyrfillich
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