Far from the catchiest title out there, Atomik: RunGunJumpGun also describes the action in a surprisingly straightforward manner. Running, jumping, and gunning proudly make up the Triforce of this game’s mechanics. Does Atomik: RunGunJumpGun combine the best of these elements into one tight package, or does its ambitions fall short in the long run? Well…

Story

The plot is told rather ambiguously. It relies on the various NPCs you’ll meet throughout the adventure to provide little details on what happened and who you are playing as. It’s actually a neat way to unravel a storyline not spoon fed to you from the beginning. This, along with the ongoing theme of the sun at risk, constantly gives off a “What will happen next?” vibe.

Graphics

Holy crap, this pixel art is gorgeous! Even if it can get exhausting for the eyes (hence its seizure warning), there’s still so much happening on-screen that it’s hard to not appreciate the effort made to pretty things up. The animated character portraits that greet you every stage are easily my favorite parts. They, along with the accompanying one-liners, tell you everything you need to know about the character just by what sort of crazy expression or animation the frames convey.

Audio

I’m not the biggest fan of dubstep, but RunGunJumpGun‘s OST utilizes it in a way I can get down with. The music has a fitting techno sound to it while also hinting at something grander with its atmospheric tones. You can feel the distorted nature the levels convey through the intensity of its soundtrack (as well as through the split-second gameplay that occurs, anyway).

Gameplay

At first, RunGunJumpGun has the kind of pick-up-and-play attitude that can make any arcade-style title enjoyable when you get into it. It’s like if the Helicopter game was torn apart and put back together to create a hugely beefed-up indie experience. In fact, there is a degree of fun to be had with it. Unfortunately, this comes to an end when the biggest hurdle gets in the way: The level design. Shooting and hovering is no problem at all; it’s responsive and to the point. It’s when the game throws in all sorts of obstacles and tribulations simultaneously that causes me to put my foot down at times.

Yep, this is a trial-and-error game and a very obnoxious one at that. You need every possible millisecond to make your move – especially when gathering collectibles along the way – or else you’ll be as good as dead. Your character only has two measly hit points, and holding onto them is a death wish. Whether it’s the multiple machines that shoot at you or the extremely infuriating turbines, there is no playing through this game without getting thrown into loads of deaths that have nothing to do with the player’s own ability to progress. Even if you master getting by one of these enemy types, another will come out of nowhere to own you.

 

Verdict

In short, Atomik: RunGunJumpGun is a potentially great game that’s hampered by shoddy level design that sacrifices genuine challenge for fake difficulty. If you have the patience to get through the kind of reflex gymnastics the game carelessly blurts out, you could probably proceed with caution.