Mr. Runner likes to run, an assertion that shouldn't tax any overworked imagination too terribly hard. Nor is it particularly hard to swallow that our eponymous hero likes to jump, slide, and collect coins like so many platformer heroes before him. That he's a pitch black grinning blocky rabbit-y thingie that has chosen, of all places, a lava pool riddled mountain range with patches of anti-gravity fields thrown in as his main stomping grounds, that might be pushing things a little.
In Bit Battalion's skill testing platformer, your job is to simply get to the goal of each level (marked by a green arrow) as fast as you can. There are no princesses or bandage riddled love interests to save, no massive tower to build, and no sardonic computer to taunt you along the way. It's just you and a series of increasingly difficult stages that will push your platforming abilities to their limits. Use the [arrow] keys to run, jump, and slide, or you can use the [space] bar to do the jumping instead. Also be sure to collect as many coins as you can as they can shave off some much needed time and when you find that you need to restart, just go ahead and hit [R] to start over with a fresh clock.
At first blush, Mr. Runner seems to be bogged down by a number of problems. The hit detection, particularly around lava pools, can be brutal and lead to instances that seem more like spontaneous combustion than placing a foot wrong. The color scheme can be a hindrance, especially when you are forced to assess at high speeds the difference between black terrain, dark gray terrain, and slightly less dark gray terrain as each shade has different properties. Even physics seem weird and the controls can come off as a little sluggish and clunky at first, which is terrible for platformers of this type.
But with a little perseverance, platforming addicts will find much to enjoy in Mr. Runner's big blocky pixels. Other similar games focus on timing and reflexes and precision, and so does Mr. Runner, but what sets this game apart is the way it beautifully incorporates momentum into the familiar platform game formula. In this way, Mr. Runner has the spirit of a racer where you not only worry about running and jumping, but also finding the racing line, that exact path through a course that lets you maximize your momentum and minimize your time. The big payoff in this game is the exhilaration that comes when you discover that line and complete in mere seconds a level that took you minutes before. Even the odd physics eventually becomes a grudgingly endearing part of the game as you slowly acclimate to their strange nuances.
Clearly this game is not for everyone, but if your fingers twitch and your mouth begins to salivate upon seeing a challenging platformer, Mr. Runner is definitely worth your attention despite its up front flaws. If given time, its flaws are more than made up for by its aggressive and ambitious treatment of the concepts of speed and momentum in a platformer.