Few games have a more apt, succinct title than ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun. In it you play as a fellow with a death wish and a mini-gun who must traverse trap-laden stages while automatically running. It’s your job to ensure he makes it by using said mini-gun to either blast past obstacles by pointing said firearm forward or to point it downwards in order to float him across gaps and violent quagmires. If it sounds daunting it is; one tiny misstep can be haphazard, and with only two hits to your name anything less than near perfection will cause him to rocket back to the start of a stage posthaste.
RunGunJumpGun is a game about mastering you position. Getting from point A to point B is harrowing and difficult, but the game also dangles that perfectionist carrot by also offering up little orbs known as atomiks that not only guide you to what the ideal path is, but also unlock new worlds down the road. Luckily, controlling our gun-toting hero is as simple as alternating the two shoulder buttons. He’ll quickly move his weapon as needed without lag, but you do have to consider that you’ll lose lift if you shoot forward and you’ll lose forward momentum if you get hung up on the environment.
As mentioned, the game gives you two hits to try and make your way through, but will quickly dart you back to the beginning if you fail. This minimizes frustration, as trial-and-error is the bread-and-butter of RunGunJumpGun. If anything proves to be too unmanageable, the game will let you skip to the next stage, but you’ll miss out on precious atomiks that you might need later in the process.
The controls are intuitive, with a small difficulty curve that’s waylaid by some solid level design and to-the-point tutorials. The playable character’s floaty jump has a harsh yet fair physics system attached to it making it feel natural and precise. Which is good, because had the game made the action even a little loose it would have been an unsatisfying experience.
While fun on a mechanical level, the other piece of what makes RunGunJumpGun so enjoyable is its presentation. The game has an almost monochromatic look to it, with dark backgrounds yet vibrant environments that pop. The soundtrack is a pulsing and thumpy cadence to it, with a good mixture of proper techno with a dash of dub and industrial noise added in for good measure. It’s very energetic, and mixed with the explosiveness of both the sound effects and game elements it’ll raise your anxiety in all the right ways. Rounding out the package is an eclectic collection of chatty NPCs that punctuate each stage, building on the world and adding to the weirdness of the premise as a whole. They’re inconsequential but endearing all the same.
It takes something special to stand out in the ever-growing auto-running platformer genre, but ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun does so with aplomb, copious deaths and a healthy dash of that “just one more time” mentality that’ll keep you coming back for more. From its pulse-pounding post-apocalyptic world to its powerful soundtrack, the hours will melt away as you try and collect every last bauble or at the very least just try and make it to the goal unscathed. If brutal arcade-like experiences sound like your cup of tea, you can’t go wrong with ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun.