If you happen to be familiar with this little title, then you may have seen it on the Nintendo DSi back in the day. I would have included 10 Second Run with the other DSiWare titles I reviewed in my special Ryan’s Corner paying tribute to the era, but it was then I learned the developers had plans to revive it for the Nintendo Switch. So of course, I figured it would be more appropriate to cover the new version on a fuller review of its own.
As you can see, this game isn’t winning awards for looks anytime soon. It frankly looks a lot like a first attempt at making a freeware platformer than anything else. The game is swiftly and smoothly animated, but what little there is can have 10 Second Run Returns come off as visually boring. Clean, but boring. It’s as minimalist as it can possibly be.
The music gets the energy going in each level, which is fitting for the kind of game 10 Second Run Returns aims to be. However, I’m sure everyone is more likely to acknowledge the “Ding! Ding! Ding!” of the beginning countdown and the jingle of the “Clear!” screen. In the ten seconds each level lasts at most, I couldn’t even take note of the chiptune soundtrack too closely because I constantly had both of the aforementioned sounds play back-to-back!
10 Second Run Returns is a twitch platformer where you have to race to the end of each of the fifty levels as quickly as possible. You’ve got ten seconds to do it, and you can bet there are some deathtraps to dodge in those ten seconds. If you want to unlock more batches of levels, you better also collect the stars that are floating around in each level as well. Thankfully, this can be done without much thought as you breeze through the miniature gauntlets. In fact, many levels can be breezed through without much thoug-Wait…Is that the credits?
Huh. I beat the game, I guess. How long did that take-
Oh, wait. There’s fifty more “hiden” (They probably should fix that typo) levels after that. This is one of those games that places the credits halfway through the game instead of at the definitive end. 10 Second Run Returns has an addictive nature to it, but the challenge doesn’t really ramp up until the end of the first half of the game. The second half has some more trials and tribulations to the mix, including everybody’s favorite aspect of a twitch platformer, trial and error – making the latter half longer to play through by default. Fortunately, it’s downplayed by the super-short levels, so it never gets too aggravating. That said, 10 Second Run Returns plays itself too safe. It’s devoid of anything remarkably interesting, leaving its simplicity to be the main appeal.
If you can get by with its simple, arguably archaic nature, there is something to like in 10 Second Run Returns. Speedrunners could likely make the best of it as the game tests their abilities to maneuver across the various hazards and platforms. There’s even multiplayer modes that can be rather intense if you guys bring out your A-game. At the end of the day, however, the game could have done a lot more with what it’s established. Now that I beat all 100 levels, I should see how long the game really took me.
Sigh…Nintendo seriously needs to update the Switch firmware.