Contrary to what you may expect with a title like this, SpeedRunners has nothing to do with transporting large quantities of illicit stimulants to various locations.  SpeedRunners is a multiplayer platformer where the goal is to be the lone survivor in a fast paced death race.  This game is completely devoid of a memorable story or interesting plot twists.  What this game offers instead is addictive, fast paced, and cutthroat gameplay.  The main selling point this game has to offer is its multiplayer mode, which can be played with strangers over the internet or (if you are lucky enough to have any) friends with local co op.

3 out 4 people in this game are smart enough to use their grappling hook to avoid running into the red box. Care to guess which character I am playing? (Hint: there is a cursor above my head)

Multiplayer pits you against three other runners.  There is no time limit, no set number of laps, and no finish line.  There is no trophy, prize money, or second place, the prize for winning the race is you don’t die.  Much like a series of Christopher Lambert movies of inconsistent quality, there can only be one.  The speed at which the screen moves at is set by the lead runner, while the three stragglers try to catch up and sabotage everyone else.  Everything remains in a pretty solid loop around the stage until one runner dies.  Death occurs when they are not able to remain on the screen as the lead runner advances it.  Typically this involves falling off a ledge or being trapped behind a wall while the survivors advance.  After first blood is split, a red border appears around the screen and gradually grows as the survivors continue racing.  This makes the allowable distance between runners smaller, until inevitably one runner remains.

The growing red rectangle of death.

For those misanthropic types that believe gaming should solely be a solo experience, there are single player modes as well.  There is an origin story where you complete a series of short levels within a time limit.  There is actually a story involved in this mode but it is pretty lackluster.  There is also a training mode where you can race against computer controlled bots.  These single player modes are alright but they really do not have much lasting appeal or replay value.  They are best for getting the hang of the game mechanics without embarrassing yourself in front of other people.  The reason to get this game and the aspect that will continue to be fun after one playthrough is the multiplayer.  There are a variety of unique characters to choose from as well of a variety of stages.  There are power ups and traps through out the levels much like Mario Kart, though the overall tone is of more unfriendly competition.  I don’t recall any instances where Mario actually kills Luigi with a turtle shell power up.

Cut scene from single player.

These races can be over quicker than Jim Levenstein on a webcam, which is great if your attention is anywhere near as short as mine (i.e. virtually nonexistent).  There is also a level editor available, so between whatever you can come up with and whatever else is already been done by other players there is virtually no limit to the amount of available maps to play.  In a nutshell, this game’s appeal pretty much boils down to whether or not you are a social gamer.  If you like playing competitively with people, SpeedRunners is a lot fun.  Its genius lies in how utterly simplistic it is, nothing but fast, addictive competition.  If you prefer gaming alone, this will only entertain you for so long and probably one to skip over.  The score I am giving this one is reflective of it being a pick up and play social game.  Twitterpate me



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