What do you get when you combine Crash Team Racing with Super Mario Bros, SpeedRunners. Developed by DoubleDutch Games the side scrolling multiplayer couples the 2D platforming of Super Mario with the combat racing of games like Crash Team Racing.
Simple in concept but it succeeds in producing a fun and energetic multiplayer game. Races are composed of yourself and up to three other players. The goal is simple, outpace the other players, but rather than making it to a finishing line you need to make the last player fall behind the screen of vision.
As soon as the first player dies a small red box borders around the screen and progressively gets larger. This makes the laps become even tighter and more difficult until eventually there is only one player left standing. It’s a simple but smart way of keeping races short but also tense.
The maps are varied and intricate but become nothing more than a recipe of memorisation as you loop over the laps until someone wins. However, for what they are worth they keep laps fresh with multiple passage routes.
Players can swing, wall jump and slide, with power-ups being scattered across the map to wreak havoc on racers. The music also adds a good rhythmical pace to the game, especially when the first player gets knocked out. The cartoonish comic book art style adds to the games already energetic gameplay along with the quirky and colourful characters you can play as. Plus it isn’t visually demanding so even a potato could run the game.
The game is currently still in early access but it has Steam workshop integration so there are plenty of diverse user created levels to play.
I did find it difficult however to get an online match, rarely with even a full team of players. Also the game is great if you want to play with friends but it is only a game I would see myself playing occasionally in short bursts with friends. There isn’t really much there in terms of content but it is also still in development so who knows, they might add a campaign or something.
SpeedRunners released August 26 2013 on PC. This review was completed with a copy supplied by the publisher.