Within the growing vault of multiplayer platformer games, I have come to notice one of two things – either A) the experience will be so intense that it will produce a reaction of spewed profanities (in a good way) or, B) I’ll muster through several playthroughs without a single emotion flickering in my facial expression. In this case, SpeedRunners had me subjected to a little bit of both.
Developed by DoubleDutch Games, SpeedRunners is a competitive local or online cartoony platformer that consists of pretty rad superheroes racing each other through the city to banish crime. Considering there are a handful of diverse heroes residing in the city, speed, momentum, and timing become significant and ultimately determines who will obtain all of that wondrous glory. Granted, SpeedRunners is not your typical racing game, for laps are irrelevant. I learned this in the opening tutorial, recognizing that I needed to be so damn fast that the other players would literally vanish off of the screen.
I have to admit, it’s kind of amusing to leave them in the dust.
My personal Steam experience with SpeedRunners allowed me to attest to the reality that things can get pretty chaotic. Whether I’d force a friend to compete with me or race strangers online, the fierce power-ups and other perks lying around the stage can sometimes create quite the aggressive environment. Now I carefully use the word “sometimes” because some layouts and power-ups can be repetitive and dare I say…boring. It really depends on one’s personal preference. With that stated, SpeedRunners is fun, but it wasn’t all I wanted and more.
Existing as a relatively competitive player, I am not a happy camper if I lose. Keeping that in mind, the Practice Mode became my best friend. We spent hours together, racing through interactive stages, eliminating other players as they inevitably fell off screen. I brushed off my shoulders in a content manner, cracked my knuckles, and pursued the Story Mode once I felt my skills were up to par. Despite the cheesy superhero dialogue, Story Mode is where I really began to put my acquired skills to test as well as gather XP points, which allowed me to unlock new runners and other fabulous goodies. So far, things were going pretty good.
SpeedRunners is also unique in a way where it presents its players with an exceptional amount of imaginative features. This includes the ability to create custom levels to play and show them off to other racers. Though constructing a level from scratch had me in quite the conundrum, SpeedRunners does offer tips and a tutorial for beginner crafters. Considering the complex factors that go into designing a level, it’s recommended to take a stroll through the tutorial. Or you can be rebellious like me and place random objects everywhere, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. Whatever floats your boat, really.
The most enjoyable aspect of SpeedRunners is indisputably its multiplayer mode. Competing with friends and family locally is a bundle of fun and laughter, until of course the foreseeable hatred and anger shifts into gear and everyone is cursing at each other. Of course, that’s a fairly typical reaction with a game that radiates a competitive vibe. Despite the rollercoaster of emotions, its innovative style and obstacles kept me on my toes, hoping with all of my heart that my so-called “friends” would screw up and fall behind before I did. Ultimately, the funky characters and atmosphere brings people together, even if it ends in a dispute. Which okay, it most likely will.
In spite of all good SpeedRunners brings to the table, I fumbled upon a variety of bugs in both the controls and the schematics of the user interface, or UI. The menu was janky and uncooperative the first time I booted up SpeedRunners; the game assumed my controller was a mouse, which hindered progression of any sort. Even during a concentrated playthrough, my controller would randomly stop functioning, and of course this mishap would occur when I was in the lead. What else kind of luck would I endure? I even switched out controllers, hoping mine had just run its course and that it was time for it to retire, only to unveil the unnerving truth – the controller compatibility feature wasn’t really much of a feature at all.
Despite the glitches and occasional defective controls, the game offers players the chance to compete with others, unlock numerous characters and stages, and unleash their creative side in various editors. It’s addictive in a way where I strive to be the best, but a tad disappointing in a fashion where I can’t count on it to work how it’s intended to. With some minor fixes, SpeedRunners is a game I know I could binge on for hours.
A PC copy of SpeedRunners was provided by the publisher. To learn more about our score, read our review policy.