When I was learning to play the trumpet as a kid, my dad told me I didn’t really know a song until I could play it 10 times in a row without a mistake. Runner 3 takes this same basic practice-makes-perfect concept and makes a quality platforming rhythm game out of it.
Everything you do, from avoiding obstacles and gaps to gathering gold bars and gems along your path, is timed to the rhythm of the toe-tapping background music. The poppy techno tunes stick with you, and even when you’re not playing you might find the songs still in your head.
Each level is absolutely bonkers, with anthropomorphized machines, plants, and other oddities giving it a theater of the absurd vibe. Some of backgrounds are quite alive: the hills have eyes and dopey smiles, giant furnaces scowl as they bellow heat and cinders. Even the moon stares down from the sky with a sleepy grin. The characters themselves are unsettling and their costumes even more so. Uncle Dill, the slack-jawed, dead-eyed pickle character unlocked through Hero Quest, was my preferred character just because of how ugly he is. At the same time, the jagged edges and bland textures look like they’d be more at home on a five-year old iPhone game than the Switch.