Runner3 - Developer Insights


Run to the Beat!

Runner3 is a rhythm-music auto-running platformer.

Since everything happens to the beat of the music, if you find yourself having trouble with a difficult section, try timing your actions to be in sync with the tasty background music.

This will especially help you get past several objects in quick succession, like stairs.

Difficulty Ramp

The difficulty ramp in Runner3 isn’t a linear increase in difficulty with each new level.

Instead, we tailored our difficulty ramping to meet the following pillars:

  1. Prioritize fun over difficulty
  2. Give the player a reprieve level in the latter half of each world
  3. Boss battles should favor spectacle over challenge
  4. World 1 should be challenging for entry-level gamers
  5. World 2 should be challenging for experienced gamers
  6. World 3 should be challenging for advanced gamers
  7. The Impossible Levels should be WAY TOO HARD
  8. The Retro Levels should be hard to perfect, but not too hard to complete

As you make your way through the game, you’ll notice this difficulty flow in practice



Gold Runs vs. Gem Runs

Each level in the game is essentially two levels in one.

Once you beat a level, you have the option to return and play its Gem Run. The Gem Run is harder than the Gold Run, and awards you with in-game currency for use in the Shop.

The moment-to-moment gameplay challenges are more difficult in Gem Runs, for sure, but Gem Runs also force you to look further ahead of your character to consider what’s coming, and make strategic moves that will benefit you both in the ‘now’ as well as the ‘soon to be’.

Target Microgame

After a lot of prototyping and consideration, we decided to bring the end-level Target Microgame from Runner2 back for Runner3.

We had initially planned on doing a unique version of this microgame per character, but in playtesting, we found that players weren’t able to hone their skills across all the versions of the microgame, to be able to feel like they were getting better at it.

And in fact, having unique variations per character had the opposite effect we wanted with having multiple characters to play as.

Once someone got good at one character’s microgame, they were less likely to change characters throughout the game. So the end result was that players would see fewer of our characters, and basically play the same microgame the whole time anyway.

In the end, we decided to have the same microgame for all characters.

We also made it slightly easier to get a bullseye, after considering feedback from our Runner2 fanbase.



Leaderboards and Scoring

There are two different Leaderboards in Runner3--one for the Main Game, and one for the Retro Game.

To compete in the Main Game’s leaderboards, you’re going to have to hone several skills, depending on which level you’re trying to best your buds at.

Some levels are easier to get a high score by dancing your buns off, but other levels will require you to get Specials or Perfects. And it’s always good to skip the checkpoint for bonus points!

In the Retro Game, to rank on the leaderboards, you’ll need to collect all five Gildans in the level, and make it to the exit portal as fast as possible. These scores are time-based, and the faster the better.

Perfecting Levels

If you’re a veteran player of the series, you’re familiar with our ridiculous system of level perfection.

In BIT.TRIP BEAT, we started this whole nonsense with the PERFECT rank, which lasted until BIT.TRIP RUNNER, when we introduced a DOUBLE PERFECT (!!). With Runner2, we went totally nuts and made something called a Triple Perfect+.

In Runner3, the best rank you can get is a Special Perfect Double+.

It’s silly.


Advanced Tactics

Even though Runner3 is an auto-running platformer, there is a surprising amount of flexibility when it comes to the moves your character can do, and how you, as the player, can trigger them.


Here are a few of those moves:

  • Glide - Hold down the jump button to keep your character airborne for more floaty jumps

  • Slam - Press down on the D-Pad while airborne to slam down to the ground

  • The Wile E. Coyote Effect - You can jump shortly after you run off of a ledge, even though you’re running on thin air

  • The Alternate Kick - The Left Trigger on your controller doubles as a kick input, so you can use both hands more efficiently

  • Dance - The Right Trigger initiates a dance, which awards you with bonus points. But be careful; if you dance too close to an object, you’ll bonk

Try using a combination of the above moves to navigate tricky obstacles like Double Jump Kick Walls!

You can double-jump, hold down the jump button to be more floaty, then tap the left trigger to kick through the wall without taking your thumb off the jump button!

Then slam down to the ground afterwards to perhaps sneak in a dance before your next move!