Published on September 29th, 2016 | by Ahmad Gameel0
SpeedRunners is a 4 player competitive side-scrolling game where you race with other players trying to outpace them and get them offscreen and once that happens, they get eliminated.
Story mode felt a bit more like a tutorial to the highlight of this game which is the multiplayer and the local play. You take on the role of a superhero called SpeedRunner who races with other superheroes to see who is the fastest in the city and who can reach the crime scenes first. There is nothing much in terms of story here There are four chapters. Each chapter contains 4 levels where the superheroes challenge SpeedRunner to a race to see who is fastest. Once you defeat the superhero in the race, the superhero you defeat becomes a playable character and you unlock a comic that gives you the reason as to why those 4 superheroes want to race SpeedRunner. I honestly thought the comics were the best part of story mode and I would have loved to see more of them.
The visual aesthetics of the game feels like they were taken straight from a comic book. The thing that stood out the most though was the animation of the each hero when they move, slide, jump or taunt the other runners. Most of them have different animations and that made them feel unique even though all of them function the same way. I wish the same can be said about the levels themselves. They look so simple and generic and felt like most of the effort went into the character’s animation and design.
The sound design is ok. Nothing really stood out except the music. They are good but unfortunately there aren’t many tracks in the game so they got repetitive fast and most of them felt a bit too similar to each other.
Think of the gameplay as Mario Kart or Crash Team Racing as a 2D side-scroller. It’s an amazing party game and incredibly easy to pick up and play. But if you want to master its gameplay mechanics in order to compete with the big leagues, it’s going to take quite a while. The gameplay mechanics are your average 2D sidescroller where you run, jump, slide or swing from walls. There are multiple routes and shortcuts you can take. There are also item pickups in the game that helps in defeating your opponents. There is the golden hook that will hook to the player in front of you which will pull him towards you while giving you a push to the front. Another weapon is the shockwave which that will push the other opponents backward if they are behind you or forward if they are in front of you so you to use it wisely. All the items are useful and fun to use and can be very useful when used at the right time.
When an opponent gets eliminated, the screen gets smaller and it keeps getting smaller until 3 players are eliminated. It can be annoying because the field of view gets so small and if you haven’t memorized the level, you will surely lose. It’s understandable why they designed it like that because most levels are small and going through them over and over can get tedious over time and because the smaller the level, the easier it is to memorize it. Thankfully most matches won’t take long because after a minute, if no one got eliminated, a timer appears and when the timer is done, the screen gets smaller automatically. I thought that was a very smart decision from the developers.
When you finish a race, you gain EXP and you unlock new items such as weapons, characters, skins and levels as you progress.
Length and Replay Value:
The story mode won’t take you long. It took me 45 minutes on Normal mode to finish. There are four difficulties for story mode which are Easy, Normal, Hard and Unfair. All 3 difficulties apart from Unfair can be beaten with little to no skills. Unfair mode however, requires you to memorize each stage perfectly and some skills are needed as the AI almost never make mistakes. I rarely saw the AI stumbles on a trap or misses a jump, a slide or a swing.
After the story mode, there is the Multiplayer mode. You can play Ranked matches that pit you against players the same rank as you. You earn points and go from Entry league to bronze league all the way up to the Diamond League. Very few people actually have reached the Diamond League and most of the community right now is extremely competitive and highly skilled so I wouldn’t recommend playing Ranked matches until you become skilled first.
Then there are the Quick Matches which pit you against three other random players online. There is also Local Party where you can play couch co-op with up to 3 friends or 3 other bots in any map you choose.
The final mode is the Practice mode which you can solo if you want to hone your skills and make yourself better and memorize the levels layouts without worrying about other players.
In Terms of Replay Value and content, the main story’s four difficulties will offer you a good amount of replay value and the Multiplayer mode will keep you hooked for quite a while. Also, there is a Level Editor in the game where you can create your own level with the game’s available assets and publish them through Steam Workshop. You can also play other levels created by the community and I found some of the community’s created levels much more fun than the ones the developers did. There is also a Trail Editor, where you create your own trail that your characters leave behind when moving very fast.
SpeedRunner is a great party game that is fun at any age. It offers a good amount of content and the Multiplayer and user created levels will keep you engaged for a long time. For that, I give SpeedRunner 4/5.