It seems like nowadays you can't move around without bumping into a blast from the past (I'm not discussing exes). Gaming is thriving and keep on giving original content and new ideas, but at times we crave the return of old favourites (again, not exes). Some are well known, others don't sadly make a return (still waiting for Conker) and others can't be a little out of the blue.
Lode Runner legacy is a remake of the 80's classic, where you take on the role of a lone adventurer tackling forces of evil to collect coins and save the day. There's no real plot as it's from the era where classic adventures were born. But unlike Mario this is more akin to many of Rare's retro titles where the story takes a back seat and the gameplay is what inspires the journey. This retro revamp sticks to the original formula as the 80's classic but adds in modern elements to appeal to a new audience. New additions include a beautiful visual style that's inspired by its retro counterpart and a ton of extra gameplay features (such as leader boards) and new modes.
As the Lode Runner, your task is to gather a number of tokens throughout various stages, while avoiding a number of different threats. The concept is simple yet highly enjoyable for those looking for fun platformer with lateral elements and pretty visuals. Taking place in single stages, the Lode Runner will have to traverse along altering platforms and ladders to reach the tokens, with a majority of levels being designed neatly and with a natural sense of flow.
The Lode Runner might be similar to the likes of Mario but has one defining feature in the gameplay. Players will be able to shoot the floor beneath them and create holes, thus destroying blockages on route or to create access to an opening below them. As the core gameplay mechanic, this allows traversal aspects into the level design and also a form of defence/combat. Most levels harbour lateral challenges, while others include some form of combat that usually includes evading enemies and traps you'll have to avoid. This can be done by luring an enemy to your position, shooting the floor to create a form of trap and let the NPC drop in. You can use them as a form of walkway before the gap is filled a few seconds later, thus eliminating the enemy.
What did cause a problem with my experience was a total lack of instructions on how to play. It took about 15 minutes to discover that I was able to shoot a hole in the floor, thus knowing the core function and centre of gameplay. I understand this is meant to be a causal and fun game but at least have a text box saying what keys do what or a keyboard map in the options menu. I'm not familiar with the game as I've never played the original so I didn't know about this core mechanic. I was for the 15 minutes trying to jump until I realized my character couldn't.
There are 50 levels in total, each expanding in design and complexity. There are new elements introduced over the course of the campaign including traps and enemies. It's a shame that the enemy behaviours don’t differ much from one another that that there are no dynamics in the level design. While the levels to get grander in scale and complexity, there's seems little change in the pacing or tone.
But there's an immense amount of content waiting to be played with different modes and features that'll keep you invested. My personal favourite was the puzzle mode that was very similar to the campaign but focused more on lateral thinking. There's also a map creation tool and a mode that allows you to play maps created by others, along with a creation tool for characters and items in the game.
Lode Runner is shaping up to be a great platformer with a ton of content, including the original game from 1983. There’s plenty of room for more additions as a co-op mode would be amazing! Lode Runner is due out in Summer 2017 where our full review will be released shortly after.