Who built this stinking road? If I ever get my hands on him, I’ll rip his heart out!
When Dungeons and Dragons, Castlevania, and Super Mario Bros ruled my fourth and fifth grade world, my friends and I used to try to catch the imagination of those adventures on paper by drawing levels for each other to play. In our minds, we would know where the traps were that our friends needed to avoid. Speedrunners reignites that part of my imagination with its simplistic graphic design and use of traps to stall opponents. Your goal is simply to stay ahead of your opponents as you race around the map. If they fall far enough behind to be off screen, they are eliminated from the race. Sometimes it can be confusing as to whether the higher or lower roads are considered more ahead on the map–but that can be straightened out once a player poofs into non-existence and waits for the next round to start.
There are two types of matches in Speedrunners. While your goals remain the same–to burn rubber and to have your opponents eat your dust–the different match types bring their own intensity. The one you will experience more frequently are timed challenges where the edges of the screen slowly and methodically close in, making the area between the racers more intimate. This mechanic raises the pressure between players immensely without being unfair. Players who remember the map layouts will have a definite advantage. Static screen challenges, where the screen never closes in, seem to be more fair for players who don’t know the layout of the stages as extensively as dedicated players.
So, what makes Speedrunners different from any other racing game? Yes, you have limited use weapons that seem to be somewhat derived from Mario Kart. While using the physics of inertia to plan your sharp turns, drifting is not a thing you’ll have to worry about like other racing games. You get a refillable speed boost that you need to time for right parts of the level in order to keep up or eliminate enemies. Interacting with switches and weapons in the levels make Speedrunners feel a little distinct from your average racer. Once you use the grappling hook to literally steal first place from a rival, you’ll enjoy the high impact differences in the action brought upon by the subtle nuances.
Having played this game through Steam on the PC, I feel compelled to mention how formulated Speedrunners felt as your typical Steam game. I plugged in my PS4 controller and just dove right in effortlessly. The ongoing Steam theme seems to be getting bang for your buck. There are tons of maps and features. There is even a large portion of the game configured towards user generated content, which seems to me what this game should be all about. While Speedrunners does not have the most professional look and feel, it does have the ability to capture your childhood imagination of living and creating dangerously. I would recommend this game for those who like some fun adventure, even if you can’t get friends to jump in on the multiplayer.