Game Impressions: SpeedRunners from DoubleDutch Games and tinyBUILD Games
I’ve had my eye on SpeedRunners from developer DoubleDutch Games and publisher tinyBUILD Games for a while now, but finally took the dive when the game went on sale for $3.39 over the weekend. Man, I’m glad I did. Honestly, while I was interested, I didn’t expect it to hold my attention but, just in a couple of days, I’ve played enough to justify my investment (and easily think that the game is worth it’s full price $9.99 price tag). Basically, in SpeedRunners the players are racing around a map in a manner not dissimilar from most of the ‘endless runners on the market’. However, instead of endless levels (although there are preset levels a la Bit.Trip Runner) the maps are set up in a circuit. There are a bunch of characters to choose from with some pretty great designs that include a dude in a shark suit, a cat and – if you know how to unlock it – a goat. At this point, the character do not have any differences beyond cosmetics (it is still an Early Access game, so I suppose that could happen in the future, or not), but – really – the ‘pure’ nature of the game is part of why I find it appealing. If you lose a game of SpeedRunners it was probably your own fault (although there are weapons like in Mario Kart, so sometimes it’s because of a good play by an opponent and sometimes it’s bad luck that your opponent got the right/wrong weapon at just the perfect moment). Still, I haven’t found the weapons to be overwhelming at this point (the golden hook is probably the most menacing, but they can all be devastating when used properly. Each race is played until one player has won three rounds and a player is eliminated from a round if they can no longer stay on the screen. Yep, the whole race takes place a single screen, which follows the leader. Sometimes the screen gets a little stretched out but, overall, the effect works well. Each game usually doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes, but it is satisfyingly tense the whole time because a single mistake can eliminate you from contention in a round. The tracks (there are eleven in the game right now, I believe, with more available through Steam Workshop) feature multiple routes, including the ability for switches that change a route, usually in favor of the first person through the door. Preventing two masterful players from going too long, eventually the field of view starts to shrink, increasing the likelihood of a player being pushed off the now-smaller screen. It also appears that multiplayer matchmaking is set up in ‘leagues’, so if you play well you will play better competition, but you won’t be thrown in against the wolves during your very first game. To this point, I have not found myself horrifically outmatched very often (maybe once or twice when I’ve come across a player that is clearly better than I am), which is nice. Even as an Early Access game, there’s a lot of content in SpeedRunners, and I’m definitely impressed with the state of the game. It’s an easy game to pick up and play a couple of rounds, but it is also a game that rewards mastery of its controls and of its tracks above all else. Pretty sweet.