Available On: Steam
Developer: DoubleDutch Games
Publisher: tinyBuild Games
Official Site: tinybuild.com/speedrunners
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Where To Buy: Steam
We all know that in the gaming world, “speedrunning” refers to when a player completes a game as fast as possible, disregarding the environment and minor enemies. Thus, most speedrunning athletes will have already tried their hand at DoubleDutch Games’ SpeedRunners by now, a multiplayer side-scrolling racing game that—despite its simplicity—manages to stand out from the cluster of racing titles already available for purchase. Originally a free web browser game titled SpeedRunner and later an Xbox Live Arcade title, SpeedRunners in its most recent form was officially released for Steam on 19 April 2016. For those just now stumbling upon this modern and quirky, superhero-y Mariokart, get ready to transform your enemies into frozen blocks of ice or trade places with your grappling hook, leaving foes in the dust.
The primary goal in Speedrunners is to understand levels and navigate far enough ahead of your teammates that they are eliminated from the screen. You can run, jump, slide, use a grappling hook to swing from surfaces, bounce off of walls, etc. Levels are littered with speed boosts that give the player an advantage over his or her teammates, and a good speedrunner should attempt to hit every one. While Speedrunners offers Story and Practice modes, the heart of the game lies in its Multiplayer feature, which allows you to play online with other racers in a quick or custom match. Though the game’s awkward matchmaking algorithm has the potential to throw newcomers into races with total pros, don’t let this put you off: being eliminated can be a humorous experience given SpeedRunners’ ability to continue spectating a race. Watching giant chickens and other bizarre characters zooming across the screen and hooking onto everything possible is enough to erase the disappointment of defeat.
Where Speedrunners shines is its abandonment of the “chance” element of Nintendo’s Mariokart and other racers, rendering it truer to the concept it was born from: the better you know the level and the more optimal choices you make, the better chance you have of winning. In Mariokart for Wii, an enemy’s blue shell could put a swift end your hard-earned spot at the front of the race, whereas in SpeedRunners, enemy projectiles are more or less manageable as long as you keep aware of their televised loot. Furthermore, if you’ve exhausted the premade levels DoubleDutch Games has so creatively provided, SpeedRunners provides a workshop mode which allows players to design and upload their own maps. The editor feature accommodates creations ranging from simple to complex, perfect for fans of Super Mario Maker.
Despite its propensity for glitching during its Early Access run (no pun intended), SpeedRunners has faired phenomenally well since its official release in April, cleaning up most of its technical problems and significantly improving the menu system from its beta format. The game functions exceptionally well as a party game—as I guarantee you and your friends will be shouting and laughing during the entire match (if they’re any fun, that is)—and with its paltry system requirements the game runs effortlessly on laptops and PCs alike. SpeedRunners is a title you can repeat over and over, and still discover further ways to eliminate your enemies no matter how small. Pick it up, give it a try, and learn how to speedrun like the pros.
- Gameplay: Original obstacles and graceful controls.
- Graphics: Extremely simple, yet creative and humorous.
- Sound: Fitting music for a fast-paced racing environment.
- Presentation: An overall enjoyable game with originality and flare.
- Challenging and fun.
- Repetitive gameplay wields perceivable personal improvement.
- Screen continuously shrinks, rendering every game short whether you'd like it to be or not.