5 (More) Reasons for Running with Rifles

Yes, these are my army men. What you may not have guessed is that they were right next to my computer, ready for deployment since Christmas.

Army men, about one-eighth as fun as Running with Rifles.

Back in January, I talked a bit about my experiences with the still-unfinished Running with Rifles from Modulaatio Games. Three months later I’m still a faithful player—after all, it’s a rare game that elicits fond reminiscences of the social introversion of my youth.

These days, the game that’s helping me reconcile with my solitary memories is even better. For exactly five reasons. Let me clue you in, and in the process heal the lingering demons of your childhood.

The swimming brings with it a 100% increase in aquatic stabbings.

Running with Rifles, now with 100% more swimming with rifles.

1. Movement

I don’t know how weird of a kid you were, but if you were like me then roughly half of your childhood playtime was spent justifying the rigor vitae of your soldiers. Crawling Man could never walk because he was wounded in the foot. Grenade-Tossing Man had a satchel of infinite grenades. Aiming Crouching Man could never burst into song because the horror, the horror. And the very lame Binoculars Man would never join the fray because he was, well, a coward.

Until very recently, I had to make similar justifications for my soldiers in Running with Rifles, who could lie prone on the ground but would have to stand back up to move. Maybe their uniforms ride up when they crawl, I’d think, or maybe their nipples chafe easily. Thank goodness I don’t have to invent reasons anymore. Soldiers can now crawl to their heart’s delight, making it much smoother to use the game’s machinegun (which can only be fired lying down or from cover) or to advance under enemy fire.

Swimming also provides an alternate way of getting around, though enemy squads of swimmers blundering into each other will result in hilarious watery knife-fights, so be careful about where you’re going.

My enemies are terrified. Petrified. Horrified. Humilified. And I... I am glorified.

Have shotgun, will go straight-up beastin'.

2. Weapons

A game with guns doesn’t really count until it has a shotgun in it, and I’m happy to say that Running with Rifles is now a bona fide gun game. Unlike most gun games, it’s also smart enough to avoid the usual shotgun stereotyping by making them actually somewhat useful beyond a range of five meters. In addition, the other new weapon is great at thinning out waves of enemies at longer ranges:

Unless you're the very lame Binoculars Man, then you're doing yourself and the world a favor.

This is why you don't wander out into a street covered by a sniper.

With these two additions, the game feels much more rounded out. The weapons aren’t totally balanced, but they do all occupy useful niches. So while the machinegun is still your best bet when holding out against a numerically superior force, the normal rifles are going to be your most versatile option. And though the sniper rifle can kill from an absurd range, you aren’t going to want to be lugging it into a shotguns-and-grenades firefight.

Ten space pennies to whomever can find all eight living soldiers.

The horror, etc.

3. It’s Better than Being a Kid…

It really is. The number of combatants is limited to the hundreds, not to how many army dudes your mom was willing to shell out for. And since you’ve got so many of them (and you’ll never be told to clean up), the game is now willing to let you decide how many fallen soldiers will litter the field, giving you a great way to instruct your own kids about the grim awesomeness of battle.

Trust me, the first time you stealth a squad into an enemy encampment by night and you’re terrified that one of those corpses is an enemy lying in wait, you’ll realize that you’ve stepped through some sort of timewarp and you’re nine years old and quite shockingly bloodthirsty for your age according to your parents.

I'm still hoping for squad customization though, so you can have a whole group of silent commandos.

A squad uses the cover of night to creep along the waterfront.

4. … Except You Have Friends

Multiplayer is in, and it finally works superbly. If all of this sounds great, just imagine it with a group of people you like. Perhaps your spouse or employer?

Which brings us to the last reason that Running with Rifles is even better than ever before:

THEY NEVER DO!

Did you see this coming?

5. Mortars

Okay, yes, fine, mortars aren’t new. But they’re still some of the most satisfying explosive ordnance yet seen in gaming. So satisfying, in fact, that I’ve put together a little montage.

Fine, hum "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Mulan. Now it's a montage. Jeez.

Or is it more of a collage? (click for glorious bigness)

So basically, Running with Rifles is the same game it was three months ago, just much better. Sort of like how this grown-up version of you is the same person, but taller.

Childhood cured. I could be a psychologist.

Posted on April 27, 2012, in Indie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Cool game, great review. I like the idea of using mortars – never played a game with that option. There’s something about heaping large quantities of destruction on the enemy at once that has always given me a little surge of joy.

  2. My childhood is cured! Fun writeup. I hadn’t seen your first one. I’m checking out RwR for sure now.

    And I think I found all eight living soldiers…. There are the two shooting at each other on the main street. Three more green guys standing nearby to the right. Two grey guys at the top left, but one is behind the building. And then the green guy shouting grenade, he’s behind the building near the right.

    • You are THIS close. I didn’t think anyone would see the people behind the buildings, (the “GRENADE” was a big hint). So props to you, sir!

      • In that case, I think the two guys on the right are dead buy laying down in a weird pose. So I need two more…. There’s a guy crouching right next to the green guy firing his gun, can’t believe I didn’t see that.

        Where on earth is the last guy?

      • Got it, like ten seconds after writing my last comment LOL. There’s a guy behind the building on the right, partially blocked by the GRENADE text bubble. I think he’s running to the right.

      • Yep, you got it! Ten space pennies for you!

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