Review: Proun+

Is Proun+ a must or a bust?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 03/13/2015 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Fun concept; tight controls; 3D effect is well executed
Poison Mushroom for...
Gameplay can become repetitive quickly; music is grating; track and level design is unique, but ultimately the game looks bland

If there’s one thing I love about the eShop, it’s that so many random games are released through it. The marquee releases, whether on a home or portable console, always command the most attention from players, but it’s the smaller titles like Proun+ that impress because their developers take chances that others don’t. Those chances don’t always equal the greatest games ever made, but often the results leave players with something fun and different to enjoy, and that’s exactly what Proun+ is: a fun, though simple, game.

Proun+ is at its core a racing game. Unlike traditional games in that genre, Proun+ eschews cars in favor of colored spheres, and a race track for a thin pipe. Using either the D-Pad/Circle Pad or motion controls, players are propelled forward at full speed automatically (manual speed control can be activated in the controls menu) down a twisting pipe that the racing sphere clings to. The other spheres on the race pipe never physically interact with the player’s; instead, all attention is focused on avoiding obstacles that dot the course. Proun+ asks players to stay on their toes, weaving around a variety of obstructions in order to maintain their speed and claim first place.

For F-Zero fans, it will be very reminiscent of the course Fire Field in F-Zero GX, and in other ways it feels a bit like rail grinding in the Sonic games. I was pleased with how silky smooth the controls were. Though there is the option for motion controls, they’re nowhere near as effective as the D-Pad/Circle Pad. Sticking with physical inputs, I was spinning my ball around the race pipe with ease. The sense of speed is also complimented very well by Proun+‘s excellent 3D. I know a lot of folks aren’t big on 3D in general, but I play every game cranked to the max; as something of a 3D fiend, I was impressed with how well developer Engine Software incorporated the feature.

That said, the graphics overall felt like a mixed bag. Intended to evoke modern art, the visual journey that Engine Software touts Proun+ will take players on falls a bit short of its lofty ambitions. Proun+ began as a PC title, before being remade as a mobile game, and now a 3DS eShop title. There were moments when the game wowed me with riots of color and shapes, but other times the screen felt flat and static. Again, the sensation of zooming into the screen was perfect, but the accompanying visuals sometimes left me wanting. The music was similarly underwhelming. I applaud Engine Software avoiding the typical EDM or electronica soundtrack that these sorts of games typically fall back on, but I ended up turning the sound down after not too long.

Proun+ boasts a number of speeds for players to tackle, from the docile Relaxed to the gruesome Speed of Light, as well as a couple of different play modes. Besides racing, players can also do Time Trial and Points events, which provide a welcome change of pace. Points was especially entertaining, but ultimately all three game modes don’t have a whole lot of depth. Proun+ is fun, but it’s fun in bursts. As a portable game, though, that can be more of a boon than a negative. Still, if there was a little more meat to the gameplay, Proun+ could have been something even more special. As it stands, anyone itching for speed and twitch gameplay could do a lot worse than Proun+— just don’t expect to be blown away.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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