Developer: Sanzuru Games Inc.
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Rating: E 10+
Last year we learned that Disney made the unfortunate decision to pull the plug on the third Tron movie. It has been said that there too many other projects took priority, and they had never actually gave it the green light. I became a huge fan of the Tron franchise when I saw the second movie; I then watched the original film and even played Tron 2.0 and Tron: Evolution not long after. Upon seeing the Disney Infinity figures and finding out about about Tron Run/r it seems that Disney does not want us to forget about the franchise.
I happened to discover Tron Run/r a few months ago while searching for the previous games on Steam. It was in the early access stage since December 2015. I found out it was going to be released on consoles and waited for the official release. Sanzuru Games Inc. is the development team behind the project, and Playstation fans will recognize the name seeing as they were responsible of bringing the God of War and Sly Cooper collections to the Playstation 3 in addition to bringing us Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. They have done a great job in the past and have continued to do so with Tron Run/r.
Tron Run/r is rated E 10+ for kids ages ten and up. There is no intense violence or negative content to speak of. The most violence parents will find here is the character or enemies being “derezzed” or erased when failing or being hit by a disc.
This game does not have any story elements, and you are most likely reading this review because you are a fan of series or know just enough to give it a look. The most story I picked up on is that you are obviously intruding on the system, and they want you out. So with that we will jump straight into the gameplay, and thankfully this title stands out pretty significantly in a genre where hundreds of Temple Run clones tread heavily on your favorite app store.
There are 3 different game modes and two of those contain sixteen challenging levels each. The first takes place on foot. In most runner games the player’s goal is to collect some kind of coins. In Tron, this is data clusters. The fun part is that you will not just be running, sliding, and jumping the whole time. You will glide, wall run, and grind in a very Tony Hawk fashion to resist the opposition. You encounter different types of enemies and roadblocks which are looking to stop you, and of course you have your trusty data disc to attack with while on the move.
The second mode takes place on the racetrack where you will be driving the famous light cycle. In addition to collecting the data clusters, you will also need to make it through a series of gates that will extend your time which is very limited from the start. The gates you will surely want to hit are at the peak of ramps where you can bust out a little trick in order get a score multiplier. These gates add a great six seconds while the others only add two. Again, you will face opposition in this mode in the form of enemies who are also driving light cycles. You can attack them with the square button and take them out before they slow you down. The L2 button can be used to drift; time it right, and you’ll be hitting every gate as you round some wide turns. Hitting the button at the wrong time will leave you at the roadside and definitely fail.
The final game type is called Stream. This is your endless mode where you keep going until you eventually fail. It is here where s things get very interesting, for the on-foot gameplay and light cycle mechanics merge here. You start off on foot, but sometime later you will see a track on the horizon. After reaching it, your light cycle will generate and you will soon be riding through the gates. This mode is significantly more difficult than the others; on your light cycle, the gates are much smaller and the obstacles on foot have become greater as well.
The bits you will be collecting are currency. In typical runner fashion, you can use these to buy tools for your suit and drone companions. The tools you can buy range from suit add-ons that will do things like give you an instant speed boost to disc modifications that cause explosive damage. The drone companions can do things like providing a protective shield for a short time or eliminating any data around you which basically gives you a clear path. During my time with the game these modifications were very helpful especially during the light cycle challenges.
A few other nice features are present here on the grid such as leaderboards so you can compete with the world or your friends, and the ability to choose what color you want your character to be. I have heard that in the stages of early access Tron/r did not have a lot to offer, but when the final version was finally released the fans seemed to be very pleased. Fortunately it looks like they will continue to be—there is more content on the way such as different bikes, characters, and even an “Outlands” mode.
If I could pick one thing that sets this title back, it would be a badly placed startup time. When dropping into your mode of choice, there is a menu where you select your tools. In this menu there is a short load time that you must wait on to be finished before you can drop into the game. This is not a problem when you are selecting your tools, but if you don’t have enough currency to buy anything you most likely want to do a quick restart and get right back into the game. This little startup time makes restarting slower and kills the momentum substantially.
When it comes to the presentation, Sanzuru Games has done a very good job bringing the Tron universe into the latest generation of gaming. The atmosphere, sound effects, graphics, and music represent the the franchise properly. However I do find the soundtrack is the weakest area of these. It has been composed by some big names in the EDM scene like Giorgio Moroder and Raney Shockne, apparently with some remixes by Autechre, Bibio, patten, and Joywav. The soundtrack is not bad, there simply wasn’t any tracks that stood out to me. Plus these names attached to the soundtrack don’t mean much to me because I don’t listen to a lot of EDM. Possibly another reason I did not care for the soundtrack is that I am a huge fan of Daft Punk’s movie soundtrack and the remix soundtrack, and I found it more fun to play these soundtracks over spotify while playing the game.
My usual experience with runner games tend to end up with the same result. I play them or a few days then they sit on my mobile device for about a week or two before I delete them. That will not be the case here. Tron Run/r is probably one of the most high quality games in its genre. Even though it is challenging, it will still keep players coming back. I did not care for the soundtrack but other players just might. If you are a fan of the franchise you will want to grab this one, and if you’re unfamiliar with it and possibly curious, I recommend that you watch the movie before you make the purchase.
The Bottom Line