With our modern age of gaming, we sometimes become obsessed with grand titles that have deep mechanics, sprawling open worlds, and engaging stories. When our own video game history has proven that some of the best games out there are simple, easy to play, and are fun in many simplified ways. It was no doubt that connection to history that ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun was made.
The title is simplicity itself, as there are only two buttons that you need to press (I played on the Nintendo Switch), there’s the “L” button to fly into the air (via a gun pointed at the gun), and then the “R” button fires your gun so that you can obliterate obstacles and enemies in your way. Just two buttons, and you’re off and blasting in a very retro style video game. You’d be surprised by how much it works. For while the controls are simple, the levels are not. They’re full of traps, obstacles, enemies, ships, and other sci-fi wonders that you’ll need to bob, weave, and blast through in order to make it to the end. And yet, that’s only half the adventure.
You see, there is a story in ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun, and it’s actually pretty grim. The galaxy you’re in is about to die from a sun going supernova. The people of the world are finding out about this and are reacting in their own appropriate ways. You play as a scavenger, one who is trying to fight the fate that has been placed upon him. To escape, you need Atomik’s, which are this universes fuel source. to do so though, you’ll need to race through levels that are moving with you (which means you can’t go back during your runs) and grab as many as you can. Only by getting enough Atomik’s in each world are you allowed to advance to the next one.
So in essence, every level is vital, and you should try and collect each Atomik. However, it’s not a requirement to collect ALL the Atomik from each level. As long as you collect a handful in each one, you’re likely going to get the amount you need. That being said, even collecting a handful can be a problem at times, because the levels can be difficult.
Yet, that’s actually part of the fun of ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun, you learning from past mistakes in order to clear the levels. Make no mistake, you will die, a lot, a heck of a lot, a whole heck of a lot. And you’ll likely repeat a lot of the mistakes that were trying to avoid, yet, it doesn’t feel like the game is weighing you down. Plus, when you do die, you get a really cool graphic that takes you back to the beginning of the level you are on.
What’s more, the team knows that you are trying to advance through the game, and thus give you an option to skip a level should you feel you’re not going to be able to crack it in time. I actually used this during my personal playthrough and I’m very grateful for it.
Another thing I’m grateful for is the art style of the game. It’s simple, and retro, yet has a visual spectacle aspect to it. It truly utilizes every inch of space on the screen, making it so you know just enough to get by, yet keeps you in the dark enough to not spoil everything.
The ironic part is many of the levels in ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun don’t take very long. If you’re able to get through it, you can beat just about every level in less than 30 seconds. Some even take way less than that. That may make you think it’s got a small playtime, but it just depends on how skilled you are in the game. Cause you can die dozens of times in the levels, and that’ll take your “30 second level” to something much higher if you’re not careful.
It’s tough, but it’s manageable, much like certain other games that have come out recently, all it takes is patience, an ability to learn from your mistakes, and a desire to do as well as possible.
Now, there are some drawbacks to the game. While the two-button system is very nice, it can lead to accidental pushes of the wrong button, which will almost always lead to your death. Also, while I appreciate the depth and challenge of the leves, sometimes it gets a little too challenging. Such as in the final world where you encounter water for the first time…it doesn’t go well.
The story is a mixed bag. I like the tongue-and-cheek nature of things, especially when it notes that you don’t have to read the text and can just go through levels without caring. I do wish though that we got more context about our character. Is he truly the only one who can scavenge the Atomik like this?
Either way though, ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun is a fun old-school game that is sure to get your heart pumping as you try to complete everything you can. It’s definitely worth the purchase.