January, 8th, 2016

Hours Played: 24 hours:

Last Played: 12/15/15

SpeedRunners: Gotta go fast

Do you like racing games like Mario Kart, 1950’s esque artwork, superheroes, well designed video games, and having fun? Well, my friend, then SpeedRunners is for you!

Because it’s all of those things wrapped into one really well made package.

SpeedRunners is a racing game, first and foremost. The setup being that various superheroes are racing to the scene of a crime, or emergency, and trying to beat each other there! At least that’s what I got out of it, the game is light on story; but it honestly doesn’t need it, the gameplay is what shines here. And boy, let me tell you, it really shines. This game is polished. It’s incredibly smooth, responsive, and just feels good. Like peeling the plastic off of a new cellphone.

And surprisingly, SpeedRunners is an Early Access game! It’s still in Beta! I continuously find myself being shocked at just how good this game handles. It feels like a full fledged release, and I give the developers, DoubleDutch Games, credit because SpeedRunners is fantastic. This is in part because of the wonderful ‘track’ designs present here. A good racing game is crippled if it doesn’t have fun courses, which SpeedRunners delivers on. There are twelve or so levels, and only two that I dislike. That’s a pretty successful margin.

Now, unlike any other racing game I have played, SpeedRunners involves… running! Who would have thought, right?

And despite being a foot race, SpeedRunners maintains an excellent sense of speed. Four players all running at breakneck speeds trying to usurp each other. Throwing missiles, freeze-rays, hooks, and crates left and right hoping to trip each other up. The highs are high, and the lows are looooow. Being in first place, getting hit by a missile, tumbling around and ending up in last place– and then dead– is jarring. You’ll get mad at your friends. But when you do it, it’s oh so sweet.

Each race is an elimination race where each ‘lap’ continues on until only one runner remains. Other players are eliminated by advancing far enough ahead that the edge of the screen touches someone. Then they explode, are out of the race, and the screen’s border progressively closes in until it’s just a tiny rectangle big enough for two players. This requires you to memorize the tracks very well, because at that point you’re almost literally playing blind.

It gets real intense real fast.

As with most multiplayer games, SpeedRunners is best with friends. But the game also offers some really, really, good bots that actually offer a decent challenge. And it has a very active multiplayer! I’ve never not found a game, which is great… Although I have occasionally run into some particularly douche-y people… But it is the internet so that’s to be expected.

I beat another player using the hook, this game’s equivalent of the ‘blue shell’, and he promptly told me in all caps to leave the game and engage in sexual congress with myself. I called him out on this, and he told me I was being rude for using the item. I proceeded to handle this situation quite poorly. But that’s another story!

Internet antics aside, SpeedRunners is fantastic and certainly one of my favorite games of 2015. Even if it came out in 2013. 2013’s 2015 racing game of the year.

SpeedRunners is just a joy to play. Even alone. And for $15 it’s a total steal. There is tons of content in this game, with like a billion different Runners and like ten skins for each one. They also have workshop support so that the community can create levels… Sadly I have only played a few workshop levels that even come close to the amazing quality of the developer courses.

I will wholeheartedly recommend SpeedRunners to anyone looking for a cool local co-op game. Or, hell, anyone looking for a competitive racing game.

It’s that good.

Seriously, go buy it. These guys deserve the support.

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