Publisher: Xbox LIVE Arcade
Platform: Xbox 360
Frantic classic burrows under the skin by forcing players to solve puzzles on the run
Lode Runner’s longevity owes more than a little to its greatest innovation. The fast-paced 1983 actioner (originally released on the Apple II) was one of the first to come with a level editor. Twenty-five years of crowd-sourced level design has helped polish Lode Runner’s on-the-run puzzling to a brilliant sheen. Here the classic chased-by enemies motif is complicated by the ability to dig tunnels that kick loose treasure, create traps that will snare pursuers or offer a quick means of escape to lower levels of the labyrinth. In this Xbox 360 update, gussied up with glitzy hi-res imagery, developer Tozai gooses the formula by riffing on the geological properties of the terra firma that players chew through. This update isn’t a visionary re-imagining a la Pac-Man Championship Edition or Space Invaders Extreme, but maybe that’s not needed here. The players themselves have been re-imagining Lode Runner since day one.