The Name Says It All
ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun is the Warioware of auto-runners. With one button to hover and one button to shoot forward, gameplay couldn’t be any simpler as the goal is to dodge traps, reach the end of the stage, and collect Atomiks, small colored orbs. The difference here is that each stage is usually only a few seconds long but carries a high difficulty factor.
The gimmick behind gameplay is maintaining the strict balance of hovering, not unlike JetPack Joyride. The scavenger, the playable character trying to save the world from a sun that is about to explode, carries a heavy machine gun that doubles as both a jetpack and weapon. Shooting this large Vulcan Raven cannon downwards causes the player to float while shooting forward forces the player to drop but destroy anything in the way. Since each stage is built with a fast left-to-right scroll, there is often little time to react and most stages require precision movements, something is that difficult to do let alone within a strict time limit.
The opening stages are just enough to get the player’s feet wet but later levels introduce tricky obstacles like saw blades, laser cannons, teleporters, and even reversing gravity with water stages. Each stage has been well crafted to provide a difficult but fair challenge while retaining that just-one-more-time incentive. If you die, and you most definitely will, you’ll learn from it for the next time. Upon death, the player is instantly flown back to the beginning of the stage as if being sent through a rewind feature on a VCR. This also lets the player see the stage and observe something they might have missed, helping to ease the pain of death.
The player will need to collect a certain amount of orbs to unlock the next set of stages. Luckily, I had more than enough just casually playing through each stage to unlock the next world. I didn’t have to grind, thankfully, to experience the later stages making the overall balance a friendly affair.
By default, the game wants the player to use both the L and R buttons on the Switch controller. Luckily, the jump and shoot buttons can be remapped to any configuration via the options menu. Instead of using the L and R button, I switched (no pun intended) the controls to the back trigger buttons on the Pro Controller and found this to be much more comfortable. Also, pro tip, it is easiest to constantly hold the shoot button then flick the jump button when needing vertical movement. Tapping the jump while constantly holding the shoot button makes completing stage much easier.
Presented through psychedelic pixel art and an EDM soundtrack, this runner carries a personality all its own. In fact, if you even have the slightest fear of seizures, it is strongly recommended to steer clear of this game altogether as each stage is composed to bright flashes, fast movements, and a soundtrack to match it. There are also these bizarre one-line cutscenes in-between each stage that proves this game is full of quirks from beginning to end.
With over 100 levels to finish, ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun is a $7.99 Switch eShop digital download that is worth your time. Due to the high challenge, just reaching the finish line is often a worthy cause for celebration let alone collecting all the Atomiks in each level. Since most stages only last 5-10 seconds with an instant rewinding respawn upon death, it might only take a few hours to play through everything. However, completionists will have their work cut out for them. Just be sure to keep the swear jar close by.
Also available on PC and iOS.
Not As Good As: JetPack Joyride
Also Try: The End is Nigh
Reminiscent Of: the auto scrolling levels in Super Mario Bros. 3