NES Collection #004: 3-D Worldrunner Review

Before Square found fame with Final Fantasy, they focused on other, less successful games, like this one.

Game: 3-D Worldrunner

Platforms: NES

Price: ~$8

Solar System #517 is under attack, and it’s up to you to stop it. 3-D Worldrunner is a sci-fi platforming game that is so far the most visually impressive game I’ve seen on the NES.

It’s visuals are impressive because the entire game is 3D, like racing games from the period. Your character can move a whole 360 degrees round the world, and take whichever course you want – although some courses are easier than others. The actual enemies themselves aren’t super detailed, but it’s enough to tell the differences between them. Pressing the select button switches the game into 3D mode, which can be used with the old red-and-blue 3D glasses. I couldn’t get this to work though, I think due in part to my lack of a CRT monitor.

The gameplay is also well executed. The stage scrolls towards you, but you can speed up or slow your character. Running into poles will give you items, such as a gun, that can then be used on the enemies of the level. You’ll also have to navigate over chasms, small and large. It’s decent platforming, and offers enough of a challenge. The end of each world has a boss battle against a dragon that requires you to move around the screen and shoot at it.

My complaints here are that the gameplay gets a little repetitive, and the difficulty has a massive spike in world 6, which requires you to jump on top of pillars to get across the chasm. I actually couldn’t get past this, it was too difficult for me, and just feels really unfair.

The game offers some replayability with a hard mode that speeds up all enemies by two.

All in all, this is a pretty good platformer that’s well ahead of its time in graphics. I’m giving it 4/5 objectively and 3/5 subjectively.


+ Great Graphics

+ Solid Gameplay



– Slightly Repetitive

– Artificial Difficulty Spike


5 thoughts on “NES Collection #004: 3-D Worldrunner Review

    • I did see that, but it’s Japanese only.
      On a somewhat related note, personally I think Square could bring this franchise back for modern audiences if they wanted, it’s style of gameplay isn’t too far removed from the endless runners on mobile devices and I think it was slightly held back by the limitations of its time.


  1. It’s still weird knowing that Square made games like 3-D World Runner and Rad Racer. With the company being so synonymous with RPGs it’s easy to forget the variety of games it used to put out before Final Fantasy took over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely, and this was a pretty decent game too, but I guess their popularity exploded with Final Fantasy and they decided to keep themselves in that genre (and if it’s making a ton of money, there’s no reason to branch out)


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