Over the years there have been a number of video game genres that have somewhat died out as technology has improved and the tastes in games have changed. In the heyday of the arcade era, action games were one of the most popular. Games like Spy Hunter were really popular as they tried to recreate the action of movies from that era. While the peak of the arcade era was a little before my time, I did enjoy some of these games on their home console versions for the NES and SNES. As it is not financially feasible for large studios to still make games for this genre, the indie industry has had to pick up the slack by trying to recreate what so many fans enjoyed about this genre of games. Today I am looking at one of those games Speed Limit which puts you in a never ending chase as you try to avoid forces that want you dead. Speed Limit is a fast paced fun little retro action game that does a good job paying homage to the genre even if it is a little on the short side.
In Speed Limit you play as a bystander on a train whose life suddenly becomes much more action packed. You are hunted by the authorities who are hellbent on stopping you. You will begin on a train and proceed through several other types of vehicles. Your task is simple: eliminate everyone who stands in the way of your escape.
If I were to describe Speed Limit’s gameplay I would say that it feels like an homage to retro action video games. In the game you will be utilizing a number of different vehicles which all translate into different types of retro action video games. You begin on foot in the train which plays a lot like your typical 2D run and gun game. Mostly you shoot left, right and up while also ducking and jumping. You eventually make your way to ground vehicles where you have to avoid traffic while also shooting the enemies that are trying to take you down. Then comes the air vehicles where you have to avoid enemies projectiles while shooting them down.
As I wouldn’t consider this to be one of my favorite video game genres, I can’t come up with a lot of specific games that Speed Limit tries to emulate. It is obvious that the game takes a lot of inspiration from the retro action video game genre though. The game does a really good job replicating what worked for them as well. While the gameplay is not exactly the same, you can see the similarities and where the game tried to improve on them with newer technology. Anyone who is a fan of these genres should have a blast with Speed Limit.
Even though I am not the biggest fan of this genre, I still really enjoyed playing Speed Limit. The game does a great job replicating what is enjoyable about arcade action games. In a way it kind of feels like you are playing a non-stop action sequence. There are no real breaks in the game. You are constantly being pursued and there are dangers everywhere. If you don’t think quickly and have a good reaction time you will die and be sent back to the previous checkpoint. The game does a fantastic job switching between the various types of gameplay as well. Outside of a very quick cutscene showing your character getting into a new vehicle, you are immediately put into a new type of game. The gameplay between the various vehicles are similar enough that you don’t really need to learn new controls (there is only a quick prompt that shows up telling you about new controls). Each vehicle plays different enough though where it keeps the gameplay fresh. Switching between the various genres is about as seamless as you could hope for.
I think the main reason why Speed Limit succeeds is because the gameplay is really satisfying. The gameplay is really fast paced where there really aren’t any slow points. You will be constantly shooting enemies and avoiding their bullets. This could have been chaotic except that the controls are quite precise. The game’s controls are pretty simple as you have your typical movement, a shoot button, a button that allows you to aim in some of the vehicles, and that is about it. For the most part the controls are precise to your inputs. Therefore your deaths in the game can be attributed to your own errors instead of the game messing up.
As for Speed Limit’s difficulty, I would say that the game can be pretty hard but it is forgiving. I ended up playing the game on normal difficulty, but the game has an easy difficulty mode as well which has less enemies that you have to deal with. Speed Limit is in a lot of ways a trial and error game. Unless you are an expert at these types of retro action games, you will die a lot in the game. In most cases you will die if you get hit by a single bullet. The game will then hit a rewind feature and send you back to your last checkpoint. The checkpoints are pretty regular where you won’t lose too much progress whenever you die. As the levels feel scripted for the most part, to progress you basically try your best to survive. When you ultimately die you will have to try something new when confronted with the same situation. You need pretty precise timing and reflexes in order to survive. Through trial and error though you start to remember the pattern which makes it easier to progress.
Generally I have mixed feelings about games that rely on a lot of trial and error. I think Speed Limit approaches this type of gameplay in the right way though. The game is well aware of the fact that you will die a lot. Therefore the game makes death a little more forgiving. The checkpoints are pretty regular. You will lose some progress when you die, but the chunks are short enough that you can remember where all of the enemies come from so you can adjust in each future attempt. There were a couple small sections that were a little frustrating because I kept dying. They don’t come up that often though. The gameplay is satisfying enough where you don’t mind much having to replay the same sections over again. If you hate games that rely on a lot of trial and error, you may not like Speed Limit. Otherwise this element of Speed Limit shouldn’t bother you all that much.
I really enjoyed Speed Limit as it is a great homage to retro video game genres. Unfortunately it is kind of a short experience. The game’s length will depend on how good you are at the game, but it shouldn’t take anyone too long to complete the game. The game has 11 stages. These stages aren’t particularly long so if you can limit your deaths you should be able to move through them pretty quickly. Your number of deaths will have a big impact on how long the game takes to beat. I would guess that most people could probably beat all of the stages within 2-3 hours. Those that are really good at these type of games could take a little less time. The game does feature three difficulties: easy, normal, and endless. Outside of the number of enemies you have to deal with, there doesn’t appear to be any significant differences between the difficulty levels. Otherwise most of the game’s replay value will come from trying to beat high scores for the various stages. As I am not really a high score chaser, I will say that I found the replay value to be a little limited. Those that like arcade games though should get quite a bit of enjoyment out of replaying the game in order to improve your scores.
Speed Limit was trying to recreate what people enjoyed most about retro action video games and it succeeds for the most part. In the game you will end up commandeering a number of different vehicles as you try to escape. Each of these vehicles recreate a different type of retro action video game and yet they are similar enough that they blend seamlessly. The game does a great job replicating what works for these types of games by keeping the fast paced gameplay and precise controls. The gameplay is really fun where it feels like you are playing a long action sequence. The game does rely on quite a bit of trial and error which might frustrate some people. I didn’t mind that much as the gameplay is fun, and it lead to a sense of accomplishment when I succeeded. The only major issue I had with Speed Limit is that the game is short. I would say that most people could finish the game within 2-3 hours with the only replay value mostly revolving around trying to beat your previous high score.
If you aren’t much of a fan of retro action video games, Speed Limit probably won’t be for you. Those that enjoy the genre though should really enjoy Speed Limit. Whether you wait for a sale or pick it up right away depends on how important length is to you. In either case I would recommend picking up Speed Limit at some point as it is an enjoyable game.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Gamechuck and Chorus Worldwide Games for the review copy of Speed Limit used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.