There are many gamers who consider Lode Runner to be a classic series, while others have never even heard of it. Developer Southend Interactive is faced with a difficult balancing act: how do you appeal to both gamers familiar with the game while attracting a new audience? Luckily, they pull it off splendidly, with a remake that adds plenty of new things to an already great formula.
For the unfamiliar, Lode Runner is a 2D platformer that involves collecting a certain number of items scattered around a stage while avoiding enemies. However, this is a platformer that forgoes the use of a jump command, instead having you climb and fall down to specific platforms to maneuver your way around each level. It can take a little getting used to, but the controls are simple and handled perfectly.
You have a weapon which can only destroy certain blocks that are below you at an angle, which is where the game can get tricky. This will allow you to effectively trap enemies for a certain period of time as they enemies can be rather relentless. There is a wealth of great tutorial stages that offer deeper explanations and insight behind these mechanics. They are excellent both new players and older gamers who have to readjust themselves to the rather strange, but addictive nature of Lode Runner.
There are some small problems that keep the game from shining though. The aiming and shooting of blocks can be a little less than responsive; in a game that requires some precise timing that is a small issue that can cause big problems. You might be just an inch on top of a block you’re trying to shoot, but not realize it, which can be especially troublesome in the later levels. Also, I’ve had some instances of enemies passing over areas they should get trapped in, or even briefly moving through blocks.
These issues aside, Lode Runner is a very successful update of a classic series. There is a multitude of options, modes, and unlockables to keep you busy for some time. It can test your patience at times, but you’ll find it a rewarding experience in the long run.
Pros: Plenty of modes and unlockables; great controls; the basic mechanics still hold up today
Cons: Some small bugs that can cause major problems