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Ring Run Circus review for PS Vita


Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Kalio
Developer: Kalio
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that Ring Run Circus got its start as a mobile game. After all, it hits nearly all the major boxes you'd usually associate with that branch of gaming. Simple controls? Check. So-so graphics? Check. Short levels? Check again. About the only way it could be any more iOS would be if it somehow worked In-App Purchases in, but thankfully those were left out.

I'm sorry — that probably comes off way meaner than I intended. I don't dislike Ring Run Circus by any stretch of the imagination. It's just…I'm not crazy about it, either.

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Which is actually kind of surprising to me, since it starts off with such promise. The game is described by the developers as a "ring-former", and at first it seems like something genuinely new and fresh. You're controlling acrobats who go around and around rings endlessly, and it's up to you to navigate them around obstacles to a key that has to be inserted in a keyhole. While the descriptor of "ring-former" may hint at a platforming element that isn't really present in Ring Run Circus, it still manages to combine two genres — endless running and puzzle — that you wouldn't think go together, but do, and surprisingly well to boot.

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The problem comes from the fact that beyond that initial innovation, Ring Run Circus doesn't seem to do a whole lot more. It shows you all it can do pretty much right off the bat, and then…that's it. Even though the game tries to mix things up a little with different characters who have different special moves, and with rings that move around, it's hard to get over the feeling that you're just stuck in an endless cycle of doing the same thing over and over again. It's fun for a couple of levels, but not for the 50+ that Ring Run Circus offers.

That's unfortunate, since I'd really like to enjoy Ring Run Circus more than I do. On top of having an interesting mechanic, it's also pretty charming to look at. Not visually dazzling or anything (hence why I said it had so-so graphics), but it still has a cute little aesthetic that it sticks to throughout.

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But that repetition! No matter how innovative or charming a game may be, it still has to do something to mix things up a little, and Ring Run Circus just doesn't. It puts all its cards on the table right off the bat, and while that may make for a fun experience at first, it doesn't take too long for that to wear out its welcome.

Grade: B-