If you make a purchase after following a link on our site, we may earn a small commission. Learn more.

ArcRunner is a cyberpunk rogue-like best played with friends

ArcRunner 1
Image: Trickjump Games/PQube

Like most games with a futuristic cyberpunk theme, ArcRunner finds you fighting against an evil rogue AI. But thanks to its unique visual aesthetic and roguelike third-person shooter gameplay that can be enjoyed alone or in online co-op, this is a title that manages to stand out from the crowd.

Like all roguelikes, ArcRunner has run-based gameplay that has you trying to get as far as possible on each attempt. Starting in a city, there are multiple areas for you to make your way through, each with their own visual theme, assortment of enemies, music and more. And of course, as you progress you can acquire new weapons, gadgets and perks that will increase your chances of success. If you die, however, most of these upgrades are forfeit. But there is some permanent progression to be made.

Nanite is earned as you play, and back at the hub between runs you can use this to unlock a wealth of permanent upgrades. You can increase your max health or increase your damage output, for example, as well as power up things like your gadgets. And by completing challenges with the weapons you find while out on a run — generally getting X number of kills with them — you can unlock their basic versions for use right from the start of your run.

ArcRunner 2
Image: Trickjump Games/PQube

Each time you play you play ArcRunner, then, win or lose, you’re making some progress towards eventual success. It’s just a shame that your interest may wane before you do ultimately do have a successful run. You see, ArcRunner simply feels a little stretched out, with you needing to complete many levels in each of its environments before you really feel like you’re making progress. And the layout of the levels in some of those environments is dull, too, often being little more than corridors. Throw in the fact that many of the perks you pick up along the way are underwhelming, and you have a game that isn’t quite as exciting as it should be.

Related: The best roguelike games on PS4 and PS5

For those that do get on with ArcRunner though, it’ll perhaps be appreciated that there are two character classes to play as – Soldier and Ninja. Each has their own special skill, melee weapon and traits. A third character class – Hacker – can be unlocked by making a decent dent in the game, too, which mixes things up even further. And of course, while you can play alone, playing with others undoubtedly improves the experience. It simply make the game feel more alive and exciting.

You might want to check ArcRunner out, then, if you’re a fan of roguelikes and third-person shooters set in cyberpunk worlds. Especially so if you have some like-minded friends to play it with. It’s not the best or most accomplished roguelike out there, and playing alone it can get repetitive pretty fast. But with some companions by your side, that extra touch of mayhem can turn things around.

ArcRunner is available now on POC and launches on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Switch on 18th April

Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!