Publisher: Chorus Worldwide Games
Genre: Arcade, Action, Racing
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 18/Feb/2021
A code was provided for review purposes.
Speed Limit is a genre swapping game following the life of a man who has just been handed a gun. The player fights off enemies in a side-scrolling shooter, blasts cars in a racing game, and defeats aerial foes in a fighter jet. Fighting through ten unique and challenging levels, Speed Limit pays homage to arcade games of the past. By switching genres frequently, Speed Limit keeps the player guessing.
There is not much story content featured in Speed Limit. Despite this, the developers included various elements to make the game whole. The developers included short text explaining what to do in each new genre. Instead of simply explaining the button layouts, at times there would be funny text. Giving the instructions personality encourages the player to experiment with all the new options available and examine how their new character interacts with the world around them.
Moreover, the developers included achievements. Not only do they prolong the length of the game, but they also have short comical descriptions that make the player want to achieve them all. The game frequently references other pop culture, even referencing the Konami Code. Unfortunately, the game’s story does not consist of any character or plot development. Despite this, the story is not the focus of the game, and the few story elements the game introduced were delightful.
Instead of focusing on one genre, Speed Limit includes gameplay from a variety of styles. Not only will the player be tasked with terminating enemies, but the player may also have to avoid incoming traffic, evade lighthouses, or leap over trains. This diversity of actions keeps the player engaged, and makes each genre feel unique.
The player has a few abilities to ensure victory over the enemies. Regardless of the genre, the player can move around and shoot at enemies. Additionally, each genre gives the player a unique special ability. The consistency in the control scheme makes transitioning between genres seamless. Without similar controls, difficult levels may seem unsurmountable when compared to challenges the player faced playing in a different genre. Unfortunately, the decision to make the character versatile prohibited the developers from creating an intricate move set. The character is capable in every situation. However, the character does not have any unique traits that differentiate it from other arcade classics. Despite the lack of depth in the character’s options, the variety in genre makes the character feel more complete, and the character is always provided with enough options to succeed in each level.
The level design in Speed Limit is excellent. While death happens frequently, there were not unfair or cheap deaths. Each death was the player’s fault, and the level design forces the player to adapt and learn from their past experiences. Despite taking homage from arcade classics, Speed Limit features frequent checkpoints and does not include a lives system. This keeps the game accessible and prevents players from replaying the same level multiple times. Tight level design and player-friendly mechanics ensure that Speed Limit is challenging in the correct ways and does not overwhelm the player.
While the gameplay in Speed Limit is solid, there are very few gameplay styles, and it can be completed within two hours. There are additional achievements that offer incentives to play the game once the main story is completed. These achievements are cleverly named and are delightful to collect. However, once the game is completed, there is very little reason to replay the game. The game has three modes: easy, normal, and infinite. While the options are beneficial, they did not feel incredibly different from each other. Adding additional content such as an arcade mode with limited lives or a more difficult mode with additional enemies would help keep the game interesting for several playthroughs.
The music in Speed Limit was fine. It did not really stand out to me. On the other hand, the sound effects were excellent. The pistol sounds were incredible, and there is a lot of feedback on each shot. Additionally, the developers incorporated the sound effects into the gameplay. They implemented sound effects when a special ability was charged, or when an enemy was targeting you. The sound design is solid despite the lack of memorable music.
The visuals on offer are incredible. The icon on the home menu is underwhelming and made me doubt the quality of the game. However, the pixel art visuals were incredible. The colour choices bring out what is important while having gorgeous backgrounds that do not get muddy. Even night scenes are vibrant and fit the theme. The developers also use the visuals to inform the player about their abilities. When piloting a helicopter, there are visual indicators showing whether the missile is charged. The visuals were extremely impressive.
While playing the game, I was mildly disappointed by the length of the death animation. Although not incredibly long, it would have been more enjoyable if the length of the death animation were shorter.
The checkpoint system was excellent. However, it was not clear when the player reached a checkpoint. It would have been helpful to receive notice when the player reached a new checkpoint. This was not that significant. Also, until the player becomes familiar with the game, differentiating between a permanent checkpoint and one that will be lost when exiting the game is challenging. The indication is the title of the next level. This is not explained to the player, but it makes sense.
The reason the text does not feel like a genuine stopping place is because the text does not require the player to confirm that they read it. This text was also challenging to read at times. It left the screen before the information could be processed. A simple confirmation that the information was read would benefit the game. If the developers intended for that decision to benefit speedrunners, they could make the option toggleable.
There was also no tutorial. The game does not need one. The game explains the controls with text in the same way it shows the title at the beginning of levels. This was fine most of the time, as the controls are basic. However, the text was still too fast, and at times the text did not describe what the action did. For example, when flying in the jet, the player can use a flare. Despite completing all plane levels, I cannot tell you what the flare did. Requiring player confirmation after displaying the text would resolve this issue.
While short, Speed Limit offers an excellent experience that will excite many arcade fans. The game is incredibly polished. Although it can be challenging, purposeful level design and enjoyable visuals will keep you coming back to give it one more shot. Speed Limit is a well-crafted game that scratches that nostalgic itch. I greatly enjoyed my experience with the game.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Speed Limit from the Nintendo eShop: here
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