If you are after a hyped-up, arcade-style gaming experience that a visual novel doesn't provide, then you are in for a treat. 'Reiko's Robot Run' is a partnered, non-hidden second game accessible from the title screen of 'Always Winter, Never Christmas'. It is a fun little arcade space epic by Sampo Rintanen, which has you avoiding "swarm troopers" whilst you hover through the air, collecting junk parts.
How do I describe 'Reiko's Robot Run'? It feels a little like the arcade games of old. It's a simple and challenging flying game; collect as many junk sacks as possible to score food rations, and that's it. You only have three lives, and one collision with a swarm trooper is instant death, so you'll need your wits about you (and plenty of practice) to get the 1000 junk parts that the mysterious man at the beginning is asking for!
The visuals are actually pretty stellar in 'Reiko's Robot Run', with bright and detailed sprites featuring on a scrolling, parallax background. The distant clouds and aerials are nicely represented, and even better, you'll begin to see little changes like the sun setting and resulting changes to the colour palette. There doesn't appear to be any slowdown either, which is pretty impressive given the speed that the game charges along.
The music and sound are also top notch. It's hard not to applaud the groovy little techno song that plays in the background, which is totally appropriate to the action you see onscreen. And the sound effects, too, are as good as any effects on any other quality Lynx title. The introductory story screen has music that actually compliments the main theme... not something you see too often!
Also, 'Reiko's Robot Run' also has excellent controls, which is important given that bad collision detection could easily ruin a game like this. If you bump into an enemy, well... that's your problem, dude! Seriously, good controls mean a good playing experience, even when you die.
‘Reiko's Robot Run' is somewhat like playing an endless runner. I did want more variety in the enemies, such as foes that fly out at you... but still, this IS a mini-game, and the concept simplicity is one of the key charms here. Without trying to sound like I’m bragging here, I did finish the game with 1000 junk parts; but it wasn’t easy! It will take a bit of practice before this game is conquered - and a lot of concentration! By the way, playing on a big screen with the McWill mod did appear to help me, though to be fair my eyesight isn’t the best and most games ‘blown up’ on big screen do benefit my playing style.
Do I want more Reiko? Yeah, absolutely! I have to say, if there’s any downside to the title, it’s that there just isn’t enough of it. I could see myself playing through multiple levels of arcade action here, through fire-fly lit forests and night skies with burning meteorites coasting before me! It would be an absolute blast - and imagine having a temporary laser cannon to blast robots and obstacles to clear a minimal path for a while. There would be a huge scope for an update here, converting ‘Reiko’s Robot Run’ to a stand-alone arcade runner. One can dream!
Overall, 'Reiko's Robot Run' is a well done little rocket racer that is brilliant for an arcade racing fan. But it should appeal to almost anyone, with a 'Flappy Bird'-like habit of making you want to try it again and again to beat your score! If this game had more content, it’d get an even higher game review rating. But still, it’s an A grade for a great little arcade game that shows what the Lynx is capable of. It’s a title that easily equals, rivals and dominates many smartphone game apps in the arcade runner market. And that in itself is an awesome achievement.Score Card
This review was submitted by Jon Mc from JMac Productions