Thanks to Gamechuck for the review code
Title: Speed Limit
System: Xbox One
Release Date: 02/19/2021
In this super frantic action game, you’re on the front from a mysterious group that will stop at nothing to want you dead: you must defy genres and escape them through any means possible in this fast-paced adventure!
Speed Limit uses minimally detailed sprites (lacking eyes or anything of the sort, your main character is practically faceless) with some good effort pumped into the 2D backgrounds, but otherwise there is little else to note, besides the shockingly impressive ways in which levels transition. Even with the game throwing genre shifts at you constantly, Speed Limit doesn’t hesitate to continue the action right after clearing a stage, with next to no transitions whatsoever. You clear the objective of the current stage, and it immediately kicks you into the next one super smoothly, with the genre transitions usually pulling a really sweet camera pan, making the levels feel all interconnected and continual: a rare sight for sure!
Not too much to note on sound: the whole soundtrack is a high-intensity rush of noise, and I had little thoughts on it one way or the other, outside of how funny it was that the pause song was literally elevator music (and you get an achievement for listening to it!)
Speed Limit is a game that doesn’t stick to one particular genre… Well, I guess you could consider it an action game from start to finish, but really, the main draw here is that the game is fast-paced and constantly shifts from one frantic scenario to the next: from Rolling Thunder-esque sidescrolling segments, to VICE Project Doom top down car combat segments, to a behind-the-bike view, Road Rash style, and more… This game is just absolutely crazy!
You have two basic buttons, one for attacking, the other for jumping/aiming/other actions, and it sticks with those two for pretty much the entire game, give or take some right analog stick usage at points, so the controls remain simple despite the shifts in genre! That doesn’t mean Speed Limit is simple, far from it: this game gets absolutely brutal right from the very first level, teaching you to keep an eye out on everything and ensuring your survival. If you die, you get rewound back to a checkpoint, and can keep throwing yourself over and over again until you eventually get past the trouble spot and move onto the next bit.
The most surprising thing? If you don’t die constantly, you’ll notice that this game is a rather seamless experience: clearing the first stage by blowing open an exit to the top of the train will immediately take you to the second stage without so much as a loading animation, and clearing that stage will have you jumping on a bike as the game shifts into a different genre entirely! This is where Speed Limit shines in awe, and was the coolest part of the game for me, hands down.
With that said, death is and will be constant, since this game quickly turns into the living manifestation of trial and error. Mistimed a crouch for a speeding train sign? Death. Didn’t check to make sure a seemingly innocent passenger wasn’t going to backstab you? Death. Didn’t make way for a speeding car behind you? Death. The game constantly, for better or worse, throws gotcha situations at you, that while memorizable, can still lead to a ton of frustration even on the easiest setting. Yet, the quick restarting from a checkpoint also leads to it being immensely fun to give it just one more go, hoping to make it past your trouble spot and onto the next stage! So while it is infuriating, it also can be pretty fun once you finally clear a tough spot.
Of course, the main game isn’t all that’s here, as there’s an arcade mode! Here, you play this like a traditional arcade game, starting with three lives and the chance to build up score to earn more of them. Unlike the main game, suffering a death condition here will just simply take a life away, and the game will keep on going, no rewinds here, that is, until you die, where the continues end up triggering the checkpoint system. This seems like it would make for an easier experience, but do not be fooled, for this ends up as a super devilish mode, especially if you want to try the insane task of a 1CC clear, or even a high score on the local leaderboards. Besides that and the three main game difficulty options, there’s also a variety of in-game achievements, which provide a decent incentive for clearing the game in all ways possible along with some fun challenges, but ultimately it’ll still come down to whether or not the trial and error format works for you.
In conclusion, Speed Limit does a fair amount of fun things that kept me more engaged than I was expecting: from instantaneous level transitions, genre shifts, to a scorechasing Arcade Mode, there’s quite a lot of replay value here, and the achievements add an extra layer of challenge to those daring to 100% this frantic game. While yes, you could beat the whole thing in under an hour if you’re persistent, this game is the essence of trial and error, and considering how much trouble Easy and Normal difficulty threw at me, I dare not think about how the Hard setting would test me.
Unfortunately, I also feel that the trial and error structure comes off as the game’s weakness, too: as fun as it is to slowly get better and get past the last checkpoint that got you stumped, there are some moments in the game that feel less like strategic pattern memorization and more like gotcha moments you have to know of ahead of time in order to avoid, so this game definitely has a learning curve, even on the easiest setting.
Nevertheless, Speed Limit was a pretty charming experience that definitely left an impression on me, and even if things don’t feel quite balanced in some ways, I can at least give this a solid recommendation to those willing to take up the challenge, even if just to see the cool ways in which the game shifts genre.
I give Speed Limit a 6 out of 10.