Tron Run/r Review: End of Line?

Tron Run/r is a video game that actually spells its title that way. It’s published by Disney and developed by Sanzaru Games, makers of the last Sly Cooper. It’s an endless runner based in the Tron universe. It’s one of the hardest examples of the genre I’ve played. The PS4 version crashed on me a few times. I had a pretty good time with it the 95 percent of the time that it wasn’t crashing!

I’m not sure what else to say.

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Disney continues the trend of putting the word “Disney” above their stuff. I kind of love it.

Tron Run/r is a bit of an experiment from Disney. It’s one of the first results from their new plan to license out IP and put out more, smaller games. It started as a Steam Early Access project, and then when it was finished it launched on consoles as well. It has a season pass, and new content has come out at a steady clip.

Unlike many endless runners, this game isn’t lane based: you have full control over where your character runs. It also has a ton of mechanics. Jumping, sliding, dodging, attacks, wall-running, grinding, and numerous game-changing powerups all make an appearance. This is a game for hardcore action fans that also happen to really love Tron.

I sit right at the intersection of those lines, but given how niche of a product Tron is in 2016…I’m not sure how many other people do.

The game includes a number of modes. “Disc” is the default running mode. It uses finite, designed levels that increase in difficulty. “Cycle” is an endless runner but on a light cycle, also with pre-defined levels. The driving mechanics felt squirrelly to me at first, but once I got a handle on them they were quite satisfying. “Stream” is a truly endless mode featuring procedurally- generated levels. “Outlands” is the first big expansion pack, but it’s just a new collection of super-hard Disc and Cycle levels.

Tron Run/r is super demanding. It’s not impossibly challenging, but it requires patience and practice to master its timing and mechanics. It frustrated me a few times, but I persevered and was rewarded. Each level has a three-star ranking system, and its own leaderboard for the score-obsessed.

Graphically, it’s very nice, even on the PS4 (Where I played it). It runs on Unreal Engine 4, and makes full use of lighting and reflection effects to re-create the Tron world. It looks more like Tron Legacy than the original movie, but if you buy the season pass you get a bunch of costumes based on the original film. I have zero complaints about the visuals.

The sound is also exceptional. The music is not by Daft Punk (who scored the second movie) but instead by techno legend Giorgio Moroder, and it’s perfect. Moroder knows, probably better than anyone, how to make this sort of music, and while I would have liked to hear some more of Wendy Carlos’s classic score, I still really like what’s here.

You have to either really like Tron or really like endless runners to enjoy this game. It’s too difficult for casual fans of the runner genre, and it’s too Tron-like to be of interest to people that know nothing about Tron. It crashed on me a couple of times, and once my save data corrupted (fortunately I had a cloud backup). The game has a currency system with optional microtransactions, and although the currency is very helpful for buying powerups, I didn’t feel overtly exploited.

If you want a really hard Tron video game then you’ll probably love this. If you don’t…then you can safely ignore it. A demo is available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and it gives a pretty good sample of the game. Be aware though, the demo levels are not fully representative of the quickly-escalating difficulty of the main game.

I apologize for the Tron joke in the headline of this article, I’ve just always wanted to write “End of Line” in something and have it actually be relevant.

I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

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