Top Run: Retro Pixel Adventure is the first game from Katata Games, a developer team from Kazakhstan. It’s an arcade, endless runner with an '80s thematic full of pop culture references.
Here at GameBuz, we’re always glad when we have an opportunity to write about new developers, even more, when their games are as well made as this one.
So let’s get right into it.
As mentioned, Top Run is an arcade, endless runner with a dash of platforming and some shooting too. You play as Kevin and his trusty dog Buddy as they run through a neon city. There are many different enemies and power-ups you need to watch out for. The game makes sure you understand how to play and who your enemies are. As you near a new enemy, a popup shows up to explain what they are and how many hits they can take.
As you run through the city, you have the ground level and two levels of platforms above. You have three recharging floppy drives to shoot, but the game does tell you that you should more often focus on avoiding enemies instead of killing them.
This is really good advice because as you get further, the enemies start piling up. Even if you have the three shot power-up, you really don’t have enough ammo to clear everything out. The screen gets full of different types of enemies and you have to weave through them and their bullets.
Another mechanic in the game is your friends. While you run you can find one of your three friends trapped in a capsule. When you free them they function as an ultimate power up. Each of them has their own unique ability that helps clear the screen, or a part of it, from enemies.
The game also likes to shake things up from time to time. One of the ways it does that is by starting a round of the floor is lava. While it’s active, you have to stay on the platforms unless you picked up a shield. The other one is Buddies' parallel universe where he is competing in a dog race.
On the graphical side, it’s really well made. I fell in love with the theme because it’s so light-hearted and well done. The city, Kevin, the skins, the enemies and power-ups, everything is done so well and screams '80s. I really liked the pixel graphics too since they fit in so well with the theme. Liberal use of VHS effects, scanlines and neon lights puts all together very well.
The audio design is even better. The soundtrack is by a great synthwave artist named Beckett. The music really completes the experience so I would recommend plugging in your headphones to really enjoy the game to the fullest.
There are a few things that are quite a sore that I hope to see changed or fixed.
The most annoying things are the sluggish controls. I’m not blaming the developers for this one since that’s a common issue with Unity games. I do hope they will manage to find a workaround because having unresponsive controls in a fast-paced game is a huge minus. I can’t count how many times I’ve died because of that.
Weird deaths are another problem I noticed. It feels like the hitboxes are a bit off or the game skips a few frames before you die. It’s most obvious when dealing with the Hammer enemy, as he drops or jumps to your level, you could be past him, but he still kills you.
Another thing that happened a few times was that the game didn’t let me double jump away from an enemy. I would fall off a platform towards them, and as I was about to jump up and away from them, the game skips a few frames as if it already decided that I will die.
There’s a lot of small additional content that the game has. The most obvious ones are the skins. Most of the skins for Kevin are characters from famous movies that I’m sure everyone will recognize. Buddy has some adorable skins, maybe the CEO of Katata Games will have a cameo in the future.
You can buy cheats for your next round and some of them can really change up the gameplay. The triple jump definitely has the biggest impact for obvious reasons. The rest are things like more ammo, starting the game with a friend or boosters spawning more often but they aren’t as impactful. The game also offers you a random one at a discount periodically and there’s really no reason not to get it.
Beyond the skins, there are even more jokes and easter eggs spread around the map, loading screens, and your apartment. You can also play space invaders inside the game, it shouldn’t be too hard to find it on your own.
The game is incredibly well done, it’s a full package and it even has a ribbon on top. The design is beautiful, the idea is great, and gameplay is fun.
The few quirks it has can be fixed and until then you can kind of adapt towards it.