There were quite a few odd releases on the Wii U eShop during its heyday, but even in these twilight years we still seem to be getting some real eyebrow raisers. Absolutely Unstoppable MineRun is the latest of these.
Somewhat of a mix of an autorunner and a precision platformer, you'll quickly notice graphics were probably not much of a priority during the game's development. The gameplay is similarly simplistic. You control a little miner who will automatically run forward, turning around when he hits a wall. Trapped in a big vertical mine shaft, your goal is simply to reach the top as an endless lava flow chases you from below.
There's only one button you need to use to get through each level, which allows you to jump. You can also double jump with the same button, but that's the only control you have over your character and can reliably be used to clear the whole game. There are a trifling 16 stages ranging from easy to "nope" difficulty, the latter of which can take quite a few attempts to clear.
The levels don't really get more complicated, per se, as the increased difficulty of the later stages only truly amounts to slightly trickier jumps and an increased rising lava speed. This unfortunately leads to the game stumbling into the common game design pitfall of essentially making it impossible for even the most skilled players to clear later levels in one try - the screen scrolls so quickly you'd have to be inhuman to react to upcoming obstacles in time, which means it all comes down to painstaking memorization and many, many frustrating deaths so you can react to danger before it even becomes visible.
If you're going to attempt getting to 100% completion things get even more frustrating. Each level has three medals to collect; while one is simply given out for clearing the stage you'll get two more for collecting all gems scattered around and for beating a certain score. Getting all gems just requires even more memorization, but the score medal is the real killer here.
You see, the game has an odd mechanic where pickups will be worth more if your character is lit on fire when he collects them, which will happen if he briefly touches the lava and then hops out before he has a chance to burn up completely. For each item collected while lit up the score gain will be multiplied, which is theoretically pretty interesting - but the flames will wear off quite quickly, and you also have to take into consideration the extra time it takes to go down, touch the lava, and then go collect stuff while said lava is still coming up after you.
This is where one more button comes into play. While not necessary to simply beat levels, as stated above, there is a button that makes the lava rise faster while held. This means you can keep the lava a little closer to where you need it to be, with the bonus effect of earning points for simply holding the button for a specific amount of time.
The problem with this is that the score thresholds get really crazy, really fast - even with the game's mere sixteen levels, they jump from being doable to being near impossible in an instant. If it theoretically takes you an hour to clear one of the last levels, you can pretty much assume going for the score medal will at least triple that time. The amount of practice and planning required to get some of these is just too crazy for a game like this - we're always down for some challenges in our games, but these go way over the line.
If you're frustrated with the game's single player mode, which is a likely prospect, there is also a multiplayer mode, though you shouldn't expect to be entertained by this either. There are two ways to play multiplayer - in one you and the other players (up to 8, impressively) make your way up an endless mineshaft trying to pick up as many items as possible, with whoever has the highest score at the end winning. This is pretty standard fare, really.
The other mode is a bit more unique. One player uses the GamePad to draw things on the screen, while the other players guess what it is. Incorrect answers will get them a time deduction, while correct answers will get them more time. This all works in theory, but we can't help but feel it's horribly out of place - these two things don't really mix at all.
As previously mentioned, the game has a decidedly unimpressive presentation, essentially resembling any random flash game from the early 2000s. Surprisingly the music is actually somewhat decent, but there's so little variety that you'll probably get tired of it rather quickly. Despite all these lowkey aesthetics the game also has oddly long loading times - you'd think everything would just spring up immediately, but in fact you'll have to wait quite a bit to do anything, from loading a level to restarting or even going back to the main menu.
With its simple looks and extremely basic gameplay, Absolutely Unstoppable MineRun is at least appropriately priced. However, the game suffers greatly from the way it applies 'difficulty', demanding time and memorisation over skill across a modest number of levels. With one of the steepest difficulty curves we've ever seen and gameplay that's not very interesting or exciting to begin with, this game probably should've done its presentation justice and been released as an actual flash game.