Monday, 18 April 2016 00:00

SpeedRunners Review

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DoubleDutch Games, in league with tinyBuild Studios, created the fantastic racing title SpeedRunners.

DoubleDutch Games was founded in 2010 by Casper Van Est and Gert-Jan Stolk who had worked together before forming DoubleDutch themselves. tinyBuild Games is a company that developed several titles, including Party Hard and Punch Club, in the 5 years since the company's conception. SpeedRunners is a unique racing experience that brings great new gameplay elements to the table. Originally an online flash game that gathered interest within a year of its release, a new HD version is being released on PC. Providing hours of exciting racing and fun with your friends, get ready to unleash your speed and leave your enemies in the dust as you defeat them one by one.

The fast-paced and deadly gameplay has the player immediately adjust to a steep learning curve. A grappling hook, consumable weapons, tackle slides, and a double jump are standard with each character. The grappling hook allows the player to avoid certain pitfalls throughout the levels, and avoid being tripped by enemies. Grapple points are always located above the players and can also be used as a way to increase speed, by adding momentum to the swing. The slide action becomes essential as the player will have to slide to dodge boxes, or knock out an enemy. Weapons that are picked up help throw enemies out of bounds, or at least slow them down, giving you an advantage. Consumable weapons include a freezing ray, boxes to drop, a fireball, and more.

Memorization of each level is important if you want any chance in surviving against the foes and traps. The pace forces the player to beat each level quickly and efficiently, hence the title. The fluidity of movement and hopping off walls reminded me of the flash game N and Runbow. The stages force you to multitask as you pay attention to your runner, the enemies, and the attacks they unleash on you. Lots of platformers have the player memorize level layouts in order to complete each stage and progress. The difference is that in SpeedRunners, knocking your enemies out of bounds is the only way to win and drives the gameplay. There are no secret spots that have hidden coins or bosses that you have to be properly equipped for. Every player starts with the same blank slate. How you run and use your weapons will determine who wins. It’s the combination of experience and skill with weapons that will get the baddies off the screen for the win!

The artwork and music SpeedRunners presents are fun and bouncy.

Comic book and 2D cell shades for the levels and runners are invigorating. The character’s fluid movements and solid backgrounds in levels make it seem as though they are running faster. Cell shading has been used often in FPSs and RPGs like XIII and Wind Waker. Seeing it in a platformer such as Speedrunners is a delight, and complements the gameplay well. Big band and jazz are the two main music genres that make up the SpeedRunners soundtrack. The music provides atmosphere for the levels and enhances the speed dynamic that dominates the gameplay. After playing for several hours, I cannot think of a better accompaniment to a great racing platformer.

I have to mention how the addition of local multiplayer, and online multiplayer that can be two vs two, is important. There has been a decline in couch co-ops being created lately. The fact remains that there is a social aspect that is removed when local multiplayer is taken away. The ability to have a friend or significant other sit and play with you in the same room cannot be replaced. SpeedRunners is a title that brings players together to share an experience and have them interact with each other. Speedrunners has a two vs two online co-op which I find remarkable whenever this is offered. The combination of couch co-op and multiplayer should be introduced more because it brings back the idea of “I can't afford this and I wanna play, so I'll go over to Rob’s and play it.”

Also Check Out: tinyBuild Games Interview with Yulia Vakhrusheva, Director, Business Development.


The Verdict

I suggest purchasing SpeedRunners as soon as possible. The art, music, characters, multiplayer, and nostalgia mix and complement one another well. Making and breaking relationships everywhere, SpeedRunners is great fun for both players and spectators.

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Robert Kelly

Rob is a mid-20’s Paladin who spends his free time reading, playing video games, and running D&D. His favorite game is Earthbound and he enjoys the novels of Brandon Sanderson . He writes reviews for games and gives his opinion, good or bad. He has come this far to play and review games, let's see how he does.