[Review] SpeedRunners – Nintendo Switch

Written by Paige Detlefsen
  • Developer: DoubleDutch Games
  • Publisher: tinyBuild Games
  • Release Date: 23/01/2020
  • Price: £12.99 / $14.99
  • Review code provided by tinyBuild Games

I am speed

The original Speedrunner is a single-player browser game. From that, Speedrunners was made and later came to various consoles and now finally the Switch. A good choice given it’s the best platform for local multiplayer.

Speedrunners is a 2D platformer racing game with kart elements. As you move one way, you’ll come across the higher/lower path which will then circle back to the start. Instead of laps it’s a race to stay in first. As if you get too far away (or fling yourself too high) you’re out of the race. 

You’re too slow!

In each course they’ll be various obstacles such as crates and spikes which slow you down (or can get in your way entirely) with alternate paths and wall jumps commonplace. Each level has a couple of shortcuts that might open up if the other racers hit the switch, often something they’d have to intentionally avoid. Speed can be stored up with boost segments and used to run faster. Your other basic moves include a slide to move through low areas and a grappling hook which attaches to platforms with a white bottom. There are also boxes on the map which gives you various items to attack your competitors such as a freeze ray, extra crate or a hook to bring them back to you. Races typically have four competitors and as they drop off the screen will start to close in. If this takes too long a timer will start which then will begin the wall closing. Part of the game is learning the courses as those in first often don’t have the camera very much if at all ahead of them. Races are conducted in a first to three, when someone gets a point, the race restarts at near that spot on the map.

The game has a single player story mode, which can be played on four difficulties. Story mode is regular races against bots but end with Speedrunner competing in a one on one race. Doing so will unlock various things, clearing a section on easy will give you the new character but harder difficulties give you additions like skins for them. After each set of races you get a small comic that tells the story more. In this mode small quips will be exchanged at the start which often teaches you game mechanics outside of the basic tutorial mode.

Otherwise, this game is all about multiplayer and can be played in local couch co-op for four total, online including a local partner or with multi-system play. Races can also be played in teams. While you can have four players even just a couple racers is still a blast.

Asides from story mode unlocks, playing the game in any mode will net you experience points. More are given based on attacks delivered and winning races, but progressing levels give rewards. Which are new items (as the COMs might be able to use items you can’t yet) and tracks. There are over fifteen tracks, and eight characters in the base game. Unfortunately most of the runners are paid DLC, and all trail patterns are too. The PC version of the game has a level creator which unfortunately is missing from all console versions.

Fast Fashion

Speedrunners has a 2D illustrated style that is fairly simplistic. Most levels have interesting backgrounds but the main event consists of black platforms. The runners themselves have nice designs (especially Moonraker). While I’m not very cultured I’d say the art style is somewhat based on 60s/70s cartoon style and advertising. Of course there can’t be too much going on with this kind of game but slight variety in platform appearances would’ve been nice.

The soundtrack is delightful and funky, while not a large one it definitely suits the gameplay and style. I had no technical issues with the game and it works fine in handheld. 

Pros

  • Local, mixed and online play
  • Good level variation
  • Story mode

Cons

  • Most characters are extra paid content
  • No map editor

Verdict
Speedrunners is an enjoyable racing game, perfectly fine for even just one or two. With plenty of local and online options to share the fun. Sadly the Switch does not get the level creator and most characters are extra paid content.
4/5 

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