They Always Run Review – Delightful Space Western That Rises Above Its Flaws.

Developed By: Alawar Premium

Published By: Alawar Premium

Genre: Action/Adventure

Thank you so much to Alawar Premium & GoPublix Media Relations for providing this review key.

In a galaxy far far away… sorry wrong game. I’ll admit I don’t have a huge history with the space western genre. Series such as Star Wars and Star Trek were never my thing, but don’t get me wrong I don’t dislike them they just never clicked for me. When I heard about They Always Run  I didn’t realize it would be one of my first forays into the space western genre. Now that I have spent some time with They Always Run, I’m ready to detail my experiences with my first game that takes place in this particular setting.

Pros

  • They Always Run is about a bounty hunter named Aiden, a mutant who’s travelling the galaxy in search of a person of interest linked to his mysterious past
  • A mutant is a being that has 3 arms connected to their body. Socially, mutants are not well-liked and society seems to have a strong distaint towards them
  • With his companion who only speaks to him through a communicator and a cast of other colorful characters, he sets off to capture a number of wanted criminals. By completing these missions he gets closer and closer to his final goal.
  • On the surface They Alwaya Run ia serioua space drama. However, the developers have added lots of comedic dialogue as well. Surpisingly, the comedic momments don’t feel too forced and honestly had me grinning whenever I saw them.
  • What really surprised me most about They Always Run was how interested I was in it’s worldbuilding.
  • Aiden ventures to many different planets, each with their own societies and groups of people. You meet techno cults, galactic police forces, mob bosses and so much more. The game also focuses on some difficult topics such as loss, corruption and xenophobia. Although it doesn’t always give the player enough details about where they are it’s undeniable that the world Aiden inhabits has some serious history to it.
  • They Always Run plays like a typical action platfomers where you travel across linear locations. While you do return to certain previous location, Theh Always Run is about constantly moving forward.
  • The action takes place on a 2D plane and is done with a variety of gadges.
  • Aiden’s primary two weapons are his nanoswords and his third arm.
  • When using the swords Aiden has a variety of three hit combos that he uses to defeat enemies. The combat is a mix if typical action platformer and a beat em up. Enemies have no visble health bars and when you knock them down they’ll get right back up until their dead.
  • Using your third arm is your special attack. You have a bioenergy meter that determines how many strong attacks you can do with your third arm. It can be used as a single hit to do heavy damage to enemies and sometimes even break through their defense.
  • You’re able to use your third arm whenever you want but if you have no bioenergy the attacks are very weak.
  • To recharge your biometer you can use parry attacks, which is done by pressing a button right before an enemy attacks.
  • Countering enemies kills them instantly and has relatively generous timing. You will learn quickly that countering is the way to go when fighting many of the game’s enemies.
  • There’s also a dodge roll that you can use to avoid enemies attacks. The dodge roll has very little lag time and can be used multiple times in a row. This is good because some situations will pit you against 10+ enemies at a time, where one dodge roll won’t get you to safety.
  • Throughout your adventure you’ll gain new powerups such as a grappling hook, a double jump and a drill to break through objects.
  • These gadgets will help you conquer the new challenges the game throws at you, but don’t expect to be doing any backtracking with them. They Always Run has a completely linear game design which means you’re always moving forward.
  • Besides gadgets you can also find health upgrades, and stim packs which you csn use to heal yourself on the go.
  • During your adventure you also collect money that you can be used to purchase upgrades.
  • In They Always Run, upgrades are displayed in a skill tree and you will need to purchase them. As you find new powerups and purchase certain upgrades new one’s will be unlocked.
  • Some upgrades include more nanoenergy, increased damage and that ability to pull enemies to you with your grappling hook
  • Money can be acquired from defeating enemies, opening chests and from bounties.
  • Because Aiden is a master bounty hunter he’s always looking to catch some criminals. When fighting enemies you can scan them with your visor to see if they are wanted.
  • Once a wanted enemy is defeated you can mark them for teleportation to the galactic police force.
  • Teleporting a wanted enemy will net you a significant amount of money that makes it all worth it.
  • I really liked the bounty system as it incentivizes players to making scanning enemies a routine. You have to remember to scan the enemies you’re fighting because if you don’t you’ll neve know if they had a bounty on them or not.
  • Platforming plays a large role in They Always Run. Most of the game involves jumping over obstacles, ziplining and climbing across structures
  • They Always Run also has chase segments which involves parkour like levels where you’re constantly moving and trying to avoid obstacles. Some of these chase segments have you running away while others have you running after someone.
  • Boss fights are triggered towards the end of a level but only on certain levels.
  • Each boss features its own unique design and moveset.
  • Certain bosses even present you with the option of killing or incapacitating them. These bosses have a conciousness meter that can only be depletes by hitting them with your third arm (your special ability).
  • It’s usually more difficult to knock out a boss then kill them, but it makes the cash reward higher.
  • Visually, They Always Run creates a unique and interesting look for each one if its locations. The game has a pleasing hand drawn art design that fits very well with the settings you adventure to.
  • Generous checkpoint system that assures you never lose too much progress.

Neutral

  • Despite the story being somewhat interesting the plot quickly becomes very scattered. The plot moves quickly and it feels like you’re constantly leaving behind loose ends.
  • The platforming leans a little too heavily on obstacles that instantly kill you.
  • Dull soundtrack.

Cons

  • When attacking enemies you can move right through them. This often leads to accidentally running off platforms and detracts from the combat overall.
  • During my playthrough I encountered multiple bugs. Some were minor animation glitches that caused me to freeze in midair or an enemy get stuck in a wall. However, a few caused me to get stuck inside a platform and have to reset to the last checkpoint.
  • Attack and movement animations look a bit wonky.
  • Despite bosses having unique designs most of them were very simple and not enjoyable to fight.
  • No way to refill health during levels except using stimpacks. Often stimpacks dropa come fron enemies and depend on RNG.
  • No level select system which means to replay a level you must start a new game.
  • Menu design for purchasing upgrades looks clunky.

Summary

Story
Gameplay
Visuals & Sound
Accessibility
Bang For Your Buck
Unique Game Design

My Purchase Price: Buy At 15-20$ (note prices are in USD)

They Always Run was a tough game to review because of how much I enjoyed my time with it, despite a number of issues. The development team is still updating the game and I think if they were able to really polish up the combat and fix the bugs this could be a new hit game. The adventure will run you anywhere from 6-8 hours and during that time I can honestly say I never felt that the game overstayed its welcome. So, if you’re looking for an interesting new space western-style action platformer, I recommend They Always Run. However, that being said please go into it with these issues in mind, because they will detract from your experience to some degree.

7/10

Steam Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1585440/They_Always_Run/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.