The Nintendo eShop reminds me a little of the Wii’s software library, as it is oversaturated with shovel-ware. Savvy consumers who keep their eyes peeled will however find the odd gem hidden amongst the garbage polluting big N’s digital storefront. Witch and Hero for example is a fun retro RPG that you can download for a very reasonable price. Platform fans on the other hand can try out the game I am reviewing today – Runny Egg. This cutesy side scroller was developed by Japanese studio Tom Create, whose previous work includes the anime inspired DS title Bleach the 3rd Phantom (a tactical RPG that I rather enjoyed, even if it suffered from a clunky UI.)
I seem to have a soft (boiled) spot for games featuring the oval shaped foodstuff that chickens lay. After growing up on titles such as Chuckie Egg, Billy Hatcher and Dizzy how could I possibly resist the allure of Runny Egg? Sharing more than a passing resemblance to vintage Sonic the Hedgehog, the aim of the game is to safely navigate various hazards and reach the eggcup situated at the end of each level. There’s a heavy emphasis on speedrunning, so nimbly avoiding enemies and picking the quickest route available are of paramount importance for anyone hoping to achieve a satisfactory completion time.
Given that every second counts, in the race to beat your personal best score, players will be relieved to hear that the game’s controls are responsive. Tilting the 3DS analogue stick influences movement, leaps are made by tapping on B and the Y button is what you press in order to sprint. Double jumps can be executed to traverse past wide chasms and bouncing off walls is also possible, allowing the bipedal egg to scale over otherwise insurmountable obstacles. Unlike certain chubby plumbers, Runny Egg’s protagonist cannot harm enemies by bouncing on their noggins. He can however protect himself by collecting the rubber ducky like chicks strewn across each stage. Once sufficient avian infants have been accumulated our hero will hatch into a chick, granting him temporary invulnerability.
My rating for Runny Egg is three and a half stars. Discovering a budget title of this quality was a pleasant surprise, especially when you consider that most developers have no qualms about extorting cash from gamers via micro-transactions and overly expensive DLC. Although the sixteen-level campaign can be bested fairly quickly you won’t hear me complaining, as the full game retails for just under two quid. That’s tremendous value for money when compared to other egg themed products. An Easter egg for example is pricier and can be consumed in a fraction of the time it takes to clear Runny Egg from start to finish.
If anything Tom Create have been a little too generous with the pricing of this game. Runny Egg’s combination of creative level design, adorable graphics, cheery soundtrack and enjoyable gameplay are something I would willingly pay more to experience. With three difficulty levels to challenge and the incentive to max out my character (points can be spent on boosting your health points, raise your top speed and enhance your defence) Runny Egg is one of those casual games that I can see myself revisiting in the future. Platform devotees who own a 3DS would be foolish to egg-nore this eShop exclusive (I can already hear the groans from pun haters everywhere.)