ArcRunner is a third person cyberpunk Roguelite shooter, Developed by Trickjump Games and Published by Pqube, out now on PC and coming soon to Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Comparatives have already been made to another third person roguelite which will remain nameless. However lets take a look at this stylish looking title.
We find ourselves in the Arc, an AI controllers space station. Now infected by a virus, the Arc is now corrupted and it’s up to you and your team as ArcRunners to take back control of the station and get everything back to “normal”. Typical to most Roguelites both story and lore sections are few and far between, with occasional bits between runs, but don’t expect heavy cutscenes with loads of conversation, you’re in the wrong place.
In game we find ourself playing a more wave based game, where a typical level will contain some some connected areas, where you’ll be put against a few waves of enemies. These start off quite primitive, with some basic in air enemies and general grunts, these get progressively more difficult with new weapons and movement to attack. You will come across some new gameplay loops in the form of challenge areas, these will be something along the lines of, defend the area, or hit a 10 kill combo, enemies will vary in these areas and add an additional challenge to help you gain more Nanites to help level your character up.
Weapons are pretty standard with the usual shooter artillery available, shotguns, sub machine guns, rifles, and a good section of throwable weapons too, these can come in the form of EMP grenades, or standard frags and a few more as you get further in, the game will give you a quick notification if you want to swap these out to the ones dropped by your foes.
As per the norm in these kinds of games, each in game death sees you set right back to the start of your run, and all your collectables reset. ArcRunner is no different, once your character dies you’re back to the beginning with your default gear, you do however collect items named Nanites, these can help you upgrade your character for every run, or whenever you die, which is more than likely, these can be found in game after completing the pre-mentioned challenges. At the end of each level you’re given the opportunity to give yourself some additional buffs.
The game in general looks really nice, but I think I have a bit of a soft spot for minimalistic cyberpunk games, looking back at games like The Ascent I really enjoyed its visual presentation, same here with ArcRunner, each main hub does has it’s own variation in palette which provides some welcome variation in looks. Levels do have some slight differences as you go through them, with some additional platforms and ledges you can get up to, however the geometry can provide difficult to navigate due to some wonky collision and invisible walls, as someone who likes to be flashy with my movement this can provide a bit of a stumbling block.
The enemies and main character models do look quite nice, if a little basic, with some neon flashes in that cyberpunk aesthetic. Bosses are a bit more elaborately designed with decent animations behind them.
You have a choice of 3 character classes each of these have a little unique spin to give some different, a standard soldier, with a shield power, a Ninja whom has somewhat quicker melee attacks and invisibility. Later in the game you can unlock a third class, the hacker plays a bit more like a mage, where the player is able to hack into the AI and have enemies turn on their compatriots. Each gives a slight difference in play style, with myself being more in tuned to the typical soldier, people who may enjoy more of Warframe might enjoy the ninja more over, with the most magic/caster fans being more than capable of maining the Hacker.
Combat itself is very classic, fluid third person combat, maybe in my opinion feels very like the aforementioned Warframe, with really nice movement, and melee that feels both light yet powerful. The melee combat isn’t as deep as other games, but the gunplay is adequate enough to feel like you can combine the two and it still feels good enough to maintain the fast and erratic in game action.
I can’t really give a strong review to the soundtrack and audio presentation, ArcRunner has a very typical synth soundtrack, a lot of games with this presentation have a very similar audio set up. I don’t feel this is as a negative however as it fits and brings nothing really new to the game it’s more of a null.
ArcRunners is a pretty decent showcase for a simple Roguelite title, combat is nice, it’s got a nice visual presentation and I think getting it on with 3 of your friends would be a good run through for a few hours. If you liked Returnal and the game I previously said I wouldn’t mention (Risk of Rain 2, which is where a lot of comparisons come from), ArcRunner is well worth a run at it’s low £17 price tag.