When I first sat down to play Atomik: RunGunJumpGun I was immediately drawn in by its art style which reminded me of an old NES game with a modern twist, a familiar nostalgia trip despite never really playing a title quite like it. The game’s simple yet elegant 2 button design gets you into the fun immediately and its painless deaths and short levels keep it addicting.
The levels auto-scroll from right to left with one button that has you shooting down to give yourself upwards momentum while the other shoots forward to clear obstacles. All of the difficulty comes from the level design and their gimmicks, as well as the need to keep collecting fuel to unlock more levels.
Level gimmicks vary from turrets that fire at you, to teleporters and even some enemies that move with you; attacking you until you kill them. While the variety is necessary, the game doesn’t seem very balanced around these mechanics, resulting in a difficulty curve that seems to vary wildly. Most levels are very easy, doable, and fun. However, at seemingly random intervals, the difficulty will spike wildly leading to some frustrating points.
The biggest thing Atomik: RunGunJumpGun has going for it is that it’s on the Nintendo Switch. Its fast paced, quick levels make it a perfect game to play on the go as it’s very easy and tempting to take it out to play a few rounds here and there. I would argue the best way to experience the game is in small chunks, which keep the difficulty curve less noticeable and the gameplay fun and frantic. After all, the game is essentially extreme Flappy Bird.
If you have a Switch that you often take with you in handheld mode and find yourself with smaller periods of time to fill with quick chunks of gameplay, this game is perfect for you. Also, if you enjoy the addictive nature of games like Super Meat Boy, you might also find yourself enjoying Atomik: RunGunJumpGun much more than you might think.
~~ Justin Sennema ~~