If you were to hark back into your fondest memories of gaming, I’d wager that at least one of those would revolve around a local multiplayer experience. In these days of nearly universal high speed broadband access it’s a feature that has been nearly forgotten, and those wonderfully fun experiences of games like Goldeneye, Mario Party, or even 4 player split screen Modern Warfare are more and more becoming a facet of a bygone era.
There’s a common word that could be used to link the aforementioned games and other local multiplayer games too; Chaos. If you’ve played any of the games above you’ll know exactly what I mean by that, each game descends into a glorious mess of uproarious laughter as you and your friends trade jokes, insults and generally attempt to throw each other off their game.
When I was offered Speedrunners to preview, I was instantly drawn to the inclusion of local multiplayer being included alongside the more usual online mode. Described as a 2D competitive platformer, Speedrunners definitely has the potential to become one of the most fun multiplayer experiences you’ve had in some time.
Like most brilliant multiplayer titles, Speedrunners has a simple premise; 4 players race through a 2D platform filled level. If a player gets left behind and falls off the screen they’re eliminated until only one racer remains, with the overall victor being the first to win 3 rounds. Drawing inspiration from arguably the king of all local multiplayer titles, Mario Kart, simply racing won’t be sufficient to win because each level is filled with weapons to slow down your oponents, such as rockets, bombs, and grappling hooks, which also can be used to swing through the levels Tarzan-style.
The level is played at breakneck speeds, with a full race rarely lasting longer than 5 minutes. It’s this sort of super fast competitive gameplay that’ll keep you hooked with a real addictive sense of ‘just one more race’. It’s also one of those titles where you will sit back and admire the skill and dexterity of your opponents once you’ve been elimated.
While graphically it’s nothing to get overly excited about, it’s entirely sufficient. Each character is clearly defined and the levels are a pleasant mix of Super Meat Boy and Cannabalt. Equally fitting for the title is the sounds design, with the the level music inspiring thoughts of chase scenes.
As discussed before, Speedrunners contains both local and online game mode. Local can be played with a mixture of up to 4 human and AI players, and in the presence of other human players soon becomes a laugh-a-minute contest. The online modes are equally frantic and the presence of a chatbox in between round allows for a few moments of goading your opposition.
Speedrunners is currently available from Steam as a Early Access purchase for £6.99, and I’m pleased to say that it’s a remarkably polished and fun product. It’s worth worth picking up for the online modes alone but if you’re having a few friends round at some point I could almost say that it’s a must buy at this price point. Highly recommended.