SpeedRunners (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Do you remember the intro to Disney-Pixar’s The Incredibles?  It was done in silhouettes and solid colors with a bravado brass heroic soundtrack.  That’s what I first thought of when booting up SpeedRunners.  The game has been out for a while on nearly every platform, but for some reason I haven’t reviewed it yet.  Just one of those games that fell through the cracks for me I guess.  But it was recently released on Switch, so I finally hopped on board.  Anyway, SpeedRunners is a 2-D platformer racing game where you choose a super hero character and race against others in lap-based levels.  It also kind of reminds me of Runbow, so if you liked that one, you’ll definitely want to check out this review and the game itself.

In the game you’ll play as a super hero, or at least someone in a costume at any rate.  You have all sorts of moves at your disposal to best the other runners.  You can double jump, use a grappling hook to swing around faster and round corners better, wall jump, and slide under obstacles.  Avoid crates on the ground, low ceilings, and spikes, which can all slow you down.  It sounds complicated, but the play control is very solid and responsive.  The first level has tutorial messages near obstacles to tell you how to pass them, too.  Only problem is the graphics are teeny tiny, and sometimes things are hard to make out on handheld mode.  But even after a few rounds, I was able to figure out the controls pretty well.

As you run around, you will pick up blue crystals that give you a weapon you can use against the other racers, like freeze rays, homing missiles, boulders, and many more.  So it’s kind of like a 2-D Mario Kart.  There are also blue strips that when you run across them, you can fill up a meter.  Press the R trigger button to give yourself a boost of speed, but this will deplete that meter, so use it wisely.  To win the game, what you have to do is run fast enough around the levels that you scroll the other players off screen.  The first time you do this, a red border will surround the screen and become smaller and smaller as you race.  Whoever can do this three times will win the race.  The courses are circular in nature and kind of reminds me of laps on a race track.

The game has three main modes.  In Versus you can compete with three others locally or online.  Story Mode is for single players.  You race as SpeedRunner, a fast-running man in black tights who must compete with other CPU racers.  You have four chapters with four races each, and you can play them with four difficulty levels.  As you play this mode, you’ll gain experience points and earn unlockables, like new characters, stages, weapons, and neat little comic books that you can read that explains the backstory of some of the characters.  Although there really isn’t much story in this mode.  Last is Practice Mode, where you can race any track and character you’ve unlocked, and try to get the best run time against ghost racers from previous laps.  Characters you can choose from include a fiery Tiki god, a lady dressed as a unicorn, a guy in a shark suit, and another guy in a chicken outfit.  You can also view replays and other options.

Aside from the tiny graphics, the only other problem I had with the game is that it’s a bit light on content.  It left me wanting more, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  What’s here is a solid game with tight play control and I can see why tinyBuild has always made such a fuss about it at conventions and trade shows I’ve been to in the past.  So I’m glad I finally took the time to review it.  So again, if you enjoyed games like Runbow, you’ll definitely want to check out SpeedRunners.

Kid Factor:

SpeedRunenrs is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Mild Fantasy Violence and Mild Language.  I honestly didn’t notice any bad language in the text, so it must be used sparingly.  You can crash into crates and spikes, but all you do is just trip and tumble over and lie down for a bit with dizzy stars over your head.  You can also use weapons against each other, but these hardy heroes just get right back up after being hit.  Reading skill is needed for the text, and younger gamers may find it a bit difficult.

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