Top Run by Katata Games
Free with in-app purchases on Google Play and IOS.

Top Run is a modern mobile game attempting to make it in 2019 as a 1980’s inspired running masterpiece. Coming back to reality in 2019 ill be honest here. I’m not usually a fan of endless runner games. They tend to get really repetitive and stale with the difficulty spike occurring in roughly the same place every time. Top Run is not wildly different than any of those past runners but it does seem to add a little something extra to an otherwise “well-done” genre. Top Run is a blast to play and Katata Games has added a few unique elements in attempts to make it stand out in the competitive mobile market. Let’s take a trip back to the 80s and see if Top Run can stand out in 2019.

top run starting screen

Groovy colors and music greet you even before the starting screen

Right from the moment you load up Top Run, you’ll notice that it is heavily dowsed in 80s nostalgia complete with CRT scanlines, neon signs, and groovy music. I can dig this as I’m a big fan of nostalgia-heavy games like The Videokid or Horizon Shift 81. Both of which are some of my all-time favorite Nintendo Switch retro-games to date. Top Run continues this nostalgia-ridden journey during the running sequences by having your player use floppy disks as ammo and boss popups fashioned in infamous 80s Memphis style graphics. There’s even a “Floor is Lava” segment which should go over like gangbusters considering the recent YouTube fad. If you don’t like 80’s retro feels then you should just stay away. There’s more here than your poor eyes and heart can handle.

Top Run Gameplay

Top Run by itself, is a fun game. Maybe its the presence of the scanlines within the menu but while running the art style for both the enemies and friendlies look really sharp. You start each run by being presented with an objectives screen. These objectives consist of everything from throwing X number of floppy disks, running a certain distance, or even killing X number of enemies. Completion of these objectives will help you level up which is required for unlocking additional game modes an earning pixels. Not so quick there partner. The hardcore game mode doesn’t unlock until level 6 and rage doesn’t unlock until level 12. It might take you a little while so strap on your Asics and let’s go!

top run obstacles

Grinding on groovy rails picking up mad pixels

As usual with runner games. The farther you get the more obstacles the game will throw at you. You can double jump at will and there are three running lanes (top, middle, and bottom) for you to run on. You don’t stick to the rails here and have to jump your way from level to level while avoiding obstacles to survive. There are also items like hoverboards, dash powerups, grinding rails, and plenty of enemies to make sure your run is ended swiftly. Top Run further sets itself apart by having friends that you can pick up along the way. You can activate your friend’s ability by shaking your phone, unleashing deadly attacks that make quick work of anything in front of them. Combine all of these elements with the retro-inspired art style and you have Top Run Retro Pixel Adventure.

Top Run Controls

top run mobile controls

Four different control schemes to suit all player types

Top Run has 4 different control schemes for you to use if swiping up and down isn’t your preferred method. I myself don’t find that the swiping controls mix well with the way your character double jumps. I much prefer the buttons or the unmarked segmented left half of the screen but the choice is yours.

Top Run Unlocks

top run ability upgrades

Even the upgrades are nostalgic. Notice the hoverboard

After playing a Top Run a few times you will start to amass a hoard of riches. Top run calls these riches pixels. You can use these pixels to upgrade the duration of the specials you will find along your runs or spend significantly more for a random roll on a new skin for you or your pup sidekick. I haven’t been very lucky in this regard. The “RNG” is usually the #1 enemy in all the games I play.

top run home room

Check out my totally tubular room

Another unique aspect for Top Run is the home. It’s a place for various home related items silly! I was fortunate enough to score this epically colored couch and surprisingly modern bed just down the street by playing. It complements the tearing wallpaper perfectly. The point here is that there’s just a little extra other than pixels for all your hard earned work. I think cosmetic features like this work well and help to tip the scales in favor of Top Run just a smidge. There’s also a secret here if you click on the arcade cabinet in the top right. By either purchasing the full game ($5.99) or only the arcade cabinet ($0.99) you can play the Cybervaders Arcade game within Top Run. You might recognize the game if you look hard enough.

The End of the Run

top run game over

It’s time to go home

Top Run does enough to set itself apart from the majority of running games. The addition of the retro powerups, friend abilities, skins, unlockable arcade cabinets, home improvements, and it’s deliciously famous 1980’s retro theme tip the scales just enough to make Top Run its own unique game. Plus its pretty fun and really challenging. If you like runners or cool retro games you should be right at home here. If you don’t then give it a try anyway, it won’t cost you anything.