By: Ted Chow
An indie title that focuses on time trials and 2D side scrolling goodness, SpeedRunners keeps the adrenaline going all the way to the finish line. With a multitude of modes from single player to creating your own speed trial maps, there is plenty of fun to go around. If you enjoy that casual competition or playing around with creating maps for your friends or the community to play, SpeedRunners is one title that breaks normal expectations.
SpeedRunners provides the player with the option to play with either a controller or a keyboard. Both are seamlessly interchangeable as well as open to key binding to the player’s needs — though the defaults settings are good enough for those that don’t want to tamper with the controls too much.
The game uses the boundaries of the visible camera to act as a wall that will incapacitate slow runners that can’t keep the pace. This creates some interesting moments where you can use that feature to knockout opponents that fall behind or punish those that risk adverse paths. Overall, the camera dynamics created some food for thought and strengthened the experience.
Inspired by comic books and the minimalistic approach, SpeedRunners portrays that overall theme throughout their level designs as well as their narrative. There is also that sense of a retro feel with the colors and presentation that is refreshingly unique. The soundtrack also helps to complement the game’s aesthetic with some nice rock and suave, casual acoustics.
SpeedRunners‘ main draw is in its speed runs and overall multiplayer experience where you can be pitted against friends or other runners. The objective is the same throughout all modes: be the person with the most points after every map.
You’ll score points based on your position on the map as well as other factors. Occasionally there will be other objectives such as timed runs, but those are more likely seen in the short story mode. Multiplayer is where this game shines, and it wouldn’t be as adrenaline inducing if you weren’t going against other players.
The game plays relatively simply as you mainly have to focus on a small number of commands. You will traverse the map and avoid obstacles as you try to keep a solid pace alongside your competitors. Grappling hooks, items and tackling abilities will be available when you need them and can help you stay ahead of the pack.
As noted earlier, you will gain points on your standing after a round which ends when players touch the screen’s borders. The player with the most points wins the game. This doesn’t have much relevance in casual speed runs against friends, but it does matter in ranked matches where leaderboard points and standings are on the line.
Other noticeable features that the game offers would most definitely have to be the level editor. With great steam workshop support, players can upload their own creations for the world to enjoy, and there is even a “maps of the week” section on the front page to help creators get recognition for their efforts.
A replays option is also available for those awesome highlights and speed runs that you wish to save and upload to your social media accounts if you’re into that kind of thing. Overall, these features help to extend the gameplay by allowing new content for players to continue to enjoy; although, there is more than enough maps in the initial package.
SpeedRunners is a great indie title that puts some spice on the 2D side scrolling speed trials. With simple and fun gameplay, the accessibility to a multitude of players is high. If you enjoy some casual fun or rank play, SpeedRunners is one title to provide you with those experiences. And with steam workshop and creators having access to the map editor, the game will continue to see new user content for players to enjoy.