Honour Runs Review: No Time For A Victory Lap

Fancy a gutsy indie shooter? Why not have a butcher's at Honour Runs out now on Steam?

Honour Runs is the type of game that doesn’t get the hooha from all outlets, but will resonate with gamers, should they have the fortune of picking it up.

It reminds me of Terror Squid, even though it’s a different sort of shmup, due to the addictive, yet responsible nature. That’s not remotely suggesting that noeyehand Games have expertly crafted a title that only allows you to play in moderation, it’s just that it’s a lot of fun in short bursts.

Honour Runs is a gutsy indie title, that was previously under the guise of Smatter: Honour Runs on the Xbox 360, and now makes the transition to PC via Steam.

Honour Runs Review

When I wrote the news piece and sourcing screenshots from PR and/or Steam, most of the footage seemed quite blurry. This wasn’t down to poor capturing, but it appears to be the artistic direction.

Working in Affinity, it resembles adding a glow effect to the assets in-game and the text. For these worn-out eyeballs, it could be a bit much when focusing. It’s a nice effect but plays havoc on my eyesight after a bit.

Fortunately then, Honour Runs is about picking up a controller, jumping into a level you’re trying to beat and have a few goes until you can do it. Other times I’d find myself going back to a level to repeat and get a better score or stats, for perfectionist sake.

Honour Runs - It was all a blur
It was all just a blur… Source: Steam

I’m no good at high scores, so do it for the pure enjoyment, but one of the stats shown is how many hits you’ve taken, and I’d continually try to improve that. It’s nigh on impossible to get zero hits unless you’re one of those speedrunner types, but you can improve with practice.

Blastin’ Enemies, Bangin’ Tunes

As a twin-stick shooter, Honour Runs uses the right stick for your standard attacks – which I have to add, is very functional, and carry you through a level with persistence. Secondly, you have two EMP options.

When first reading that, I thought it was a grenade type option (ingrained gaming), but it’s two independent blast modes; one for concentrated fire, the other for a spread. The latter is excellent for crowd control, while the former is best for focusing on the spots where enemies spawn.

Perhaps one of the best things about Honour Runs, and that shouldn’t be read as a detriment considering it doesn’t affect gameplay, is the music. Playing the game on mute is perfectly functional and enjoyable, but the soundtrack couldn’t be more perfect.

This is the type of music I listened to ‘back in the day’, like re-living The Prodigy when they were good or swapping mixtapes of Fantasia, some unheard of drum and bass artist, and so on. It’s easily one of the best soundtracks out there.

The Occasional Marathon

My biggest complaint with the game, well, it’s not a complaint, more a critique is the directions. When getting to grips with the game, I wasn’t sure where to go. There are little yellow shapes embedded in walls and believed that shooting them would open up areas, but they’re surplus to your objective.

Instead, there are similar shapes you can hover over that will unlock a wall or two for a limited time that you have to fly through, grab a key, then unlock a new area. Sounds very simple, and child’s play for the genre, but I couldn’t seem to work it out.

Honour Runs Out This Month
Source: Steam

I even went as far as to look at the tutorial – I know, right? But the advice wasn’t great and pushed me towards exploring again. When I had understood these switches opening up, I soon got it, then when back making up for lost time, and completing levels as fast as possible.

Keep It Up

I wasn’t particularly fussed about unlocking levels as there’s no story here, and happy to take my time not only honing my skills, but for the sheer bloody fun of it. Honour Runs is very much on the minimalist level, but it has all the elements you need in a top-down shooter and is as fast-paced as the bangin’ tunes.

There aren’t tonnes of levels, and Honour Runs isn’t feature-packed, but, as I said, this game is the type you’ll pick up again and again for an extended period. Whether it’s for a wordplay line of ‘quick-fire’ fun, to improve on your last stats or not, it has longevity; even it’s just sitting still and listing to the tunes.

It won’t be for everyone, especially though looking for lots of features, multiplayer mode, boss battles and sublime graphics. A note on the latter, they aren’t bad at all, but they’re understated. The focal point is the gameplay, and that’s mildly important, right?

Honour Runs Review Summary

Honour Runs wasn’t the brutal shmup anticipated and could get to grips with it immediately, aside from my moronic wandering at the start. It’s an indie title, stripped of RTX-intense visuals, but it makes up for dazzle with enjoyment, replayability, and dare I say in a game review, an awesome soundtrack.

The score totals a 7.5 out of 10