Format reviewed: Wii U eShop
Other formats available: Android, iOS
Developer: Shy Egg
Publisher: Yappa Pie
Website: Nintendo Website
Absolutely Unstoppable MineRun is a challenging auto-run platformer for 1-5 players. The lava keeps rising and the Miner is out of control, so you’ll need to use carefully timed jumps and double jumps to reach the top safely.
Carefully timed you say. That's an understatement. A game that requires only a single point of input, the A button to jump or double jump, builds quickly to a level of difficulty that other games can only dream of obtaining. The simplicity of movement makes this game accessible to all, and a source of frustration to those that wish to delve further into the 16 levels on offer in the single player campaign, and the unlockable endless runner mode.
A single level, when played to perfection, can last a mere 10 seconds, but to perfect that level will require the patience of a Saint to finally unravel the correct way to jump around the level, collect all gems and obtain the highest of scores. You see, your miner is constantly moving left, meeting a wall, and then right. Back and forth, until the rising lava consumes him. So, to stop the inevitable steamy onslaught the miner must jump up using the GamePad's A button, or if you prefer a Wii Remote, there is no Pro Controller support within this game, and hope for no untimely falls. Easier said than done. Jump height is not duration sensitive, therefore the miner's every jump is of the same height as his last, and it's quite a height, so being in a lower ceilinged space causes confusion. Think of the original NES Ice Climbers game and your onto something. You can, however, jump into a wall, and then turn the rebound into a double jump in the opposite direction. Like a Mario wall kick, without the kick.
Deaths are hard to avoid, especially when jumping up a level is far quicker to achieve than the time it takes the game to scroll the assets up. What the game wants you to do is stay as near to the lava as possible. This allows for the collection of score multipliers, but goes against the very nature of humanity. Run! So, jumping up too fast, means your character is lost off screen, and an inevitable tumble off a platform's edge is probably the next event to occur. What the developers want you to do is play the game as a platform puzzler, so instead of making it to safety, they want you to stay at the bottom, jump in the opposite direction, so your rebounded double jump will land you on the platform facing the opposite way to what you would normally. That then allowing a further wall bounced double jump to collect a hard to reach gem. Copy and paste. In fact the level of complexity of what is required to do in order to 100% a level's 3 objectives is bordering insane. 1. Finish the level (obtainable); 2. Get all Gems (nigh on impossible starting on Normal difficulty); and 3. Beat the predetermined highscore (virtually impossible while trying to stay close to the lava and collect all gems). The level of skill and patience Absolutely Unstoppable MineRun asks of you is godly, and beyond this reviewer's obviously lacking skill set.
Absolutley Unstoppable MineRun comprises of sixteen levels split into 3 difficulties, Easy, Normal and Expert. Normal being much faster paced than Easy, but Expert adding no extra speed just some insane requirements to even get to the top of the level. Such as waiting for the lava to melt ice blocks before a gem or a path opens up, at the same time as making sure you're facing the right way and in mid-flight while it's all happening. Forget it!
Multiplayer comes in 2 varieties. The first being a high score gem collect-a-thon. The player to have the highest score at some arbitrary point in the game is the winner. The round finishes at a place which is seemingly not the end, and without warning. A Player 1 winner screen flashes up and that's it. Fun for all of 5 minutes. The second is far more interesting in that one player, using the GamePad, is given an arbitrary word, and then gets to draw it, Pictionary style, on the GamePad to give clues to the others playing on the TV. How a player guesses can be marked as correct or incorrect. A correct answer adds additional time to the round, an incorrect guess removes time. More often than not, though, the Pictionary player will just use their artistic flair to obscure all players view of what's happening on screen. Picking out a single player for torment and revenge may be the order of the day here. Both multiplayer modes are short lived, short timed experiences, and feel randomly created. They lack any depth of the single player mode's complexity. However, up to 5 players can join in, and if you lack Wii Remotes, 2 players can use a single controller, one on the A button, another pressing the 2 button.
Off TV play is all present and correct, and Absolutely Unstoppable MineRun allows use of the GamePad's touch screen, or D-Pad, for Menu selection, although being a little unresponsive to some touches at times is a let down. Crisp and clear 8.5 bit graphics are functional, but superbly supported by an awesome set of old style chip tunes. Cheerful, memorable, and downright funky, resembling Manic Miner, Chucky Egg or even Ninja Gaiden.
However, long loading times for such a simple game seems jarring. Selecting the Single Player campaign and watching a loading screen for 12 seconds is strange for what's on offer here. It's not an horrendous wait, but seems out of place for the simplicity and quick fire nature of the game itself.
There is some merit in playing the single player mode, but due to the game's unforgiving stance on difficulty, and the requirement to work out seemingly obscure jumping patterns by trial and error, Absolutely Unstoppable MineRun ends up as a frustrating, and short lived experience.
Review by Lee Davies, originally posted on Nintendo: Review.