RUN, LITTLE ELF, RUN!
As an avid PS Vita fan, I know the world of Vita ports can sometimes be a bit of a minefield. For every gem of a game there are a couple of half-assed mobile adaptations which do little else than to add physical commands – sometimes not even that. Qubic Games’ Geki Yaba Runner clearly shows its mobile DNA through its looks and general gameplay but still manages to deliver a fun – if limited – experience.
Storytelling is pretty much non-existent
Geki Yaba Runner’s story is told through vague cutscenes at the beginning and in certain transitional sections of its many levels. To put it shortly, you play as a cartoonish elf in search of a generic princess locked away somewhere. To get to her, you need to traverse dozens upon dozens of levels which merge auto-running and slight platforming mechanics. A game of this ilk would hardly be played for its story and Geki stays true to that – what value it sports is in its gameplay.
This short transitioning custscene will eventually show up… for some reason
As far as looks are concerned, Geki will hardly leave anyone jaw-dropped and it certainly isn’t pushing the handheld’s limits but it does a fine job of conveying the casual, easy-going atmosphere. The main character is pleasant to look at and environments all pop with colorful objects and backgrounds. However, after a while I found the game’s fast pace to produce a very distracting blurring effect which has me squinting my eyes and making me want to pause for a bit. Overall, while I can’t say the game features any really distinctive art style, it sure won’t hurt anyone’s eyes.
The game’s looks are pretty pleasant overall
If you’re anything like me, you shrug at the mere sound of “auto-runner”, which is why I jumped into Geki Yaba Runner with my expectations in check. Still, seeing as I’ve been positively surprised by Qubic Games before, I gave this title the benefit of the doubt.
After having run and jumped my way through more than a hundred levels in the game, I can comfortably consider this a pretty good time for those seeking a more laid-back experience on Vita. Without having to worry about storytelling or any sort of complex actions, players are thrown into a classic “one more try” routine as they desperately seek the perfect finger reflexes to see them through the sometimes devilish level designs.
There are plenty of socks to collect in different environments
Players will face spikes, pitfalls, tornados, rocks, trees and everything in between and usually only sheer dexterity will get them to the finishing line. Most times the objective is to keep reaching new checkpoints while collecting socks until you end the level but there are also a few timed events which require especially sharp running and jumping skills. What’s more, as you progress you’ll unlock different abilities such as crashing down faster from a jump or sprinting in order to clear longer gaps or dodge moving obstacles. Difficulty seems to vary on a pretty random basis but do take into account that the game can get pretty demanding at times.
Some levels can get pretty tough
Sound design comes across as simple but effective in Geki. There are some cheery tunes at play throughout and every action has its own sound effect. While I could gladly play Geki with the sound muted and listening to something else, the time I spent playing it with headphones on was perfectly pleasant.
There are a few gameplay twists in wait
If you’re in the market for an easy-going time-killing experience on Vita, Geki Yaba Runner may just be what you’re looking for. Its auto-running mechanic translates to a dedicated focus on quick jumping, gliding and dodging reflexes which can be thoroughly tested in some of the tougher levels but the lack of any sort of genuine progression is only somewhat mitigated through the introduction of a few different powers.
While there’s really nothing here to set it apart from the crowd, there is undoubtedly a healthy dose of levels, pleasant visuals, a few gameplay additions to uncover and pacing perfectly suited to gaming on the go in Geki Yaba Runner.
Note: this review was based on a copy provided by the developer