Speedrunners Hands-on Preview
[gameinfo title="Game Info" game_name="Speedrunners" developers="doubledutch games" publishers="tiny Build" platforms="PC" genres="Platformer, Multiplayer" release_date="Late 2013"]
This city is packed with a variety of superheroes, in silly costumes. While they are not fighting crime, they race against each other across various landmarks, to prove who’s the fastest, and the most furious, in the capital. They may not have the most obvious powers, but they all got something in common, their grapping hook and some kick-ass ninja skills.
Speedrunners is the forthcoming Steam game which is currently in beta, but anyone can play the game now via Early Access. It’s a competitive multiplayer sequel to the browser-based game ‘Speedrunner’, which eventfully saw its HD remake release on Xbox Live Indie Games, complete with a single-player campaign and multiplayer. At the moment, this game only offers multiplayer of up to 4 players, and can be played locally or online. It comes with 4 characters and 4 maps, which may not be much for a standalone game, but the gameplay is still fun and that what it matters the most.
It is a platformer, where ‘runners’ can race against each other in circuit-based levels, using their skills to get someone to fall behind and hit the edge of the screen. Once a person falls out, or a timer reaches zero, the screen will shrink, which will make it easier for someone to drop out. The last surviving player will be given point for winning the round, and by collecting 3, he or she will win the game.
However, the camera points at the average position of all players, and there are hazards that can either slow one down or knock them out; all of that will give the failing competitors a chance to catch up, and provide the leading men a hard time to see what’s ahead of them. Each one of the runners will have a grapping hook, which allows them to attach and swing from highlighted ceilings, as well as sliding and wall jumping capabilities, all of which are useful for finding shortcuts and dodging hazards. It’s like Micro Machines, except that it’s a platformer, with city landscapes and Spiderman wannabes.
It does come with a taste of Micro Machines V3, as it features power-ups for heroes to collect and to stun others with. Pick one blue box, and you may get something like a rocket, a remote bomb, some droppable crates, or a drill that rubber-bands anyone up to a higher position. But there’s one power-up that I happen to like the most, and it’s the (yellow) grapping hook. It can grab hold of the nearest player and bunny-hop over him/her to get further ahead. With some skill, the target will get caught between the areas or fall into spikes, for that easy win.
It’s like Micro Machines, except that it’s a platformer, with city landscapes and Spiderman wannabes
Speedrunners could do with some extra characters and stages, in order to boost the variety of this game. It would also make sense that it should feature a single-player campaign mode – like the one from Speedrunner HD – and a practice mode for learning the game’s layouts. But even if it ends up with just a multiplayer mode, this game will still be well made and won’t fail to impress players.
I reckon the game will become a smash hit, as doubledutch games have done a good job on the slick controls, and provided some excellent level design. Improved after each beta phase, the stages are well crafted with the fair positioning of elements and obstacles, and the wide pathways with some challenge added in. Not to mention that the gameplay provides the thrills, chills and chemical spills in racing against others in a platform-based game.
We’re already heading for the age of indie games, as we are seeing a flood of platformers coming in, but this game really deserves a lot of attention from various gamers. Speedrunners packs in a great old-school gameplay, that’s well designed and offers hours of fun. You are most likely to spend a whale of a time learning the corners of a level, the tricks to get the opponents behind, and trying not to fall into spikes. I hope it will gain popularity, when it comes out on Steam in the coming weeks, and it would be awesome as well if it comes out on games consoles, including PS4 and Xbox One.