I have been a long time Tron fan. I was one of the few people that enjoyed Legacy to some extent, yet found the original movie, the concept that even birthed the franchise in the first place, to be nauseating. Tron so far has had two movies and now two games, but this time Sanzaru Game’s take on bringing Legacy‘s parkour wall running and back flip disc throwing finds itself in Tron Run/R, a linear running game in the same light as say Temple Run…yet this one might bring on a seizure.
What’s funny is that Tron is the true, pure definition of a video game series. It is literally about people getting sucked into a computer where little bits of data live out their humanoid lives, throwing digital frisbees and racing each other on motorcycles that excrete light, which ultimately murder you. Think Snake but motorized and it has two heads. Now while Tron is basically a franchise about video games, it just doesn’t seem to be able to do the video game bit very well.
The art style is fantastic but when 2010’s Tron Evolution hit shelves, people discovered that such a franchise can’t be taken lightly when it comes to making a product that is aimed at the form of media it is being made into. In this case, gaming.
In Tron Run/R you play as a faceless program that must run two chapters of sixteen tracks each, all while collecting little digital bits of in-game currency and also navigating past deadly green walls of doom and over even deadlier barricades of death and other dangerous hazards. You may notice a murderous trend here. That is because everything in Tron Run/R is trying to stop you in some way of reaching your goal.
It’s endless running game 101 that also mixes light cycles into the mix to give a somewhat rough Wipeout experience (You know, that awesome space racing game on Playstation) that actually feels way more balanced and user friendly than games like F Zero and Wipeout ever did. If one thing was done right in Tron Run/R so far it’s that the game wants you to do well while also feeling cool and not cheated by forced failure.
Between the two game mode types you also have Endless Stream mode, which as you can assume is just never ending survival and in some ways the core feature of the package. Within this mode you play a never ending combination of somewhat seamless disc running and light cycle riding tracks without the load screens and with death being your only way of it ending. Sadly in this mode, there are no enemies to fight apart from on the light cycle tracks, so it’s basically a more focused obstacle course. But it’s still fun none the less.
Sanzaru have attempted to place micro transactions into Tron Run/R too, which, as mentioned, come in the form of bit points. Thankfully, you never have to actually purchase these as you are constantly collecting them like rings in Sonic the Hedgehog, but their purpose is actually cooler than just having a bag full of yellow marbles. Bits go towards special abilities that, in most cases, make the gamesuper easy. By spending bits, you can have a portable gun turret for automatically killing enemies, doubling score multipliers, a personal shield, and so forth. It is a nice addition that doesn’t feel forced and along with the fact that real world money isn’t needed to obtain them at all, you can sail through the game at its base price.
Finally is Tron Run/R’s aesthetic, which, as the opening sequence touts, is completely built up in Epic’s new Unreal 4 engine. Now while this is nice on paper, the game looks nothing like a next gen title, which is a shame. Particles and character models all look like previous generation creations, while the framerate also truly suffers in places, especially endless mode, so get used to dying a lot due to the games very poor performance at times.
It is still an enjoyable game and I have sunk many hours into it. There is also an optional season pass that provides multiple characters, costumes and an additional 36+ tracks to soon be released. This may not be the Tron game we all expected but in a way, its a direction I find quite fitting for it.
Tron Run/R is currently available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.