Geki Yaba Runner Deluxe (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Lex Firth 02.02.2017

Review for Geki Yaba Runner Deluxe on Nintendo 3DS

As the famous quote goes, there are only two things certain in this world: death, and budget-priced auto-runner games on mobile platforms. The advent of the free-to-play and low-priced indie game means they're a dime a dozen across iOS and Android, and the genre is making a gradual leap over to traditional platforms thanks to their more accessible digital storefronts. Geki Yaba Runner Deluxe is an example of both of these. Originally a free-to-play mobile app, Air Race Speed developer QubicGames has brought it over to the 3DS eShop as a paid download. Does it translate to the handheld, or was it better left on the even smaller-screen?

It's clear from the moment the game starts that it's a low budget mobile title. Its music and sound effects sound like they've been ripped directly from a stock sound bin, and graphically it's atrocious - the art style is ugly, the transitions between loading screens and menus are abrupt, and the stiffly-animated sprites mesh poorly with the dull backgrounds. For an iPhone game, this is easier to overlook, but on Nintendo's handheld it makes it much more difficult to justify a five-dollar purchase.

The gameplay itself should barely need explaining: this is a textbook 2D runner, where the character runs through a course from left to right and the players only input is either jumping over obstacles or smashing through them with a dash attack. It's a difficult to mechanic to mess up, and QubicGames' by-the-numbers offering functions well in this regard, although it doesn't offer much else; its only real unique selling point is that it stars a cast of gnomes, though the character designs themselves are uninspired.

Screenshot for Geki Yaba Runner Deluxe on Nintendo 3DS

Rather than an endless runner, Geki Yaba takes place over the course of an admittedly sizeable number of levels (over one hundred, in fact), each one manually designed rather than procedurally generated as in other genre examples. Thankfully, the level design is for the most part proficient, and most in-game deaths are generally the fault of the player rather than the developer. It's not always the case, however, especially as the game runs at such a fast speed; obstacles often seem to come out of nowhere, and death is instant.

Thankfully, Geki Yaba embraces the modern design philosophy of an endless lives system, meaning it never feels overly cruel or insurmountable. Every level, no matter how mean the level designers may be, is possible to beat after enough persistence and muscle memorisation, and it's in constantly retrying the same levels that one realises just how addictive the game is. A hefty chunk of time can pass in the real world, but you simply won't notice due to the 'one-more-go' mentality it instils with its quick respawn times.

One of the main issues many customers will have with the game, however, is its price point: it's largely unchanged from its mobile counterparts, which are available for free (albeit with in-app purchases), and it isn't particularly distinct enough to recommend above other 2D platformers on the 3DS at a similar price point. Even compared to Nintendo's own mobile offering, [url=http://www.cubed3.com/review/3412]Super Mario Run[/url[, which earns its relatively high price tag through sublime level design, crisp graphics, and bonus modes, it's certainly difficult to recommend.

Screenshot for Geki Yaba Runner Deluxe on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Geki Yaba Runner Deluxe, despite being ostensibly low-budget, is intrinsically a lot of fun, offering addictive, simplistic gameplay for a relatively cheap price. However, its failure to innovate and the inexplicable price hike it gained in its cross-platform move mean that it struggles to find its own place in the market, especially when compared to other genre entries, and it certainly doesn't mark itself as a highlight of the console's library.

Developer

QubicGames

Publisher

QubicGames

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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