SpeedRunners: What We Think
SpeedRunners, developed by DoubleDutch Games, has a bit of a history behind it. Originally released under the title SpeedRunner, it was a free web browser game that later spawned SpeedRunner HD on the Xbox 360 in 2011.
Fast-forward to August 2013. In the same year and month that costumed superhero film Kick-Ass 2 was released, DoubleDutch released SpeedRunners as a Steam Early Access title. After almost three years of waiting, SpeedRunners is now available to the public.
What’s Inside the Box?
This 2D action/platformer takes elements from a number of successful franchises to bring together a complete package of fun for any casual or competitive player. SpeedRunners combines the fast-paced action of Sonic the Hedgehog with Mario Kart-inspired power-ups, which can be used to make your foes stumble as you race past them to be number one.
The objective in this superhero-inspired game is to be the “last man standing.” You must effectively outrun your opponents until they disappear off the screen and into oblivion. As the race goes on – and after an opponent drops out – the screen will start to zoom in to make the size of the field smaller. This adds to the level of excitement, providing a looming sense of imminent peril.
Beat Bots, Buds or Both
With simplistic design and controls, it’s a far cry from recent popular endless runners. Each character has the ability to jump, slide, boost or grapple. As easy as the controls are to learn, mastering the physics of this game will put your skills to the test. With four difficulty levels – from “Easy” to “Unfair” – the learning curve is both fluid and challenging.
Offering a single player story mode, local and online co-op, multiplayer and a level editor, there are boundless ways to have fun with this title. One feature I particularly enjoyed was playing user-generated courses and appreciating the creativity of other players.
Here Comes a New Challenger!
The story mode is short but sweet, unlocking a new course for each level you complete. A level-up system also unlocks new power-ups, which are used to take control of your lead and put your opponents behind you. Each of the four stages is comprised of four levels, with a consistent boss character appearing in every race.
The last level of the stage is a one-on-one race with the boss, which doesn’t feel too gratifying as you’ve already pummeled him or her in the previous three stages to get to the end. After completing a stage, you are rewarded with a short comic which gives some insight on the story. These comics are silly at best but entertaining nonetheless. I guess even the inhabitants of New Rush City still need a reason to run.
Put Your Mettle to the Gas Pedal
The real attraction to SpeedRunners lies within multiplayer, as it is a great game to pick up with a group of friends. I highly recommend taking advantage of the game’s full controller support. Unless you typically prefer keyboard controls in gaming, SpeedRunners’ responsive controls are best utilized with a gamepad.
Additional characters are available to control in multiplayer, including the bosses. This charming and zany cast of superhero types are bound to inspire some interesting cosplay at your local con this year.
If you find yourself brave enough to tackle the online multiplayer, keep in mind that SpeedRunners has been recognized as an eSport, and there are some damn good players out there. Memorizing a course is definitely a prerequisite for success in the online rankings.
Runners, Take Your Mark
This title felt nostalgic for me in some regards. In my youth I was obsessed with the original Crash Team Racing, memorizing every single track for ultimate effectiveness. At that point, playing with others who had the same knowledge of the tracks as I did became a power-up battle, relying equally on luck and skill.
SpeedRunners is the same type of game, rewarding the persistent and talented. This game makes a terrific addition to anyone’s Steam library.
SpeedRunners is available via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for SpeedRunners below: