High octane, melt your brain
All right, we’re gonna cut right to the chase. You’re not here for words, or story, or anything superfluous like that. You’re here for action! Speed! Adrenaline! Excitement! You need blam, POW! And you need it NOW! Let’s get that blood pumping, that base jumping, that thump thumping, baZOOM! Ker-CHOW! Nitro-blast ACTIVATE! Show me your war face! I said SHOW ME YOUR WAR FACE! Now run! Scream! AUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! *guitar solo, explosions*
…did I do it? Did I capture the pure essence of action well enough? No? Oh well, that’s okay — Speed Limit did it better anyway.
Developed by Gamechuck and published by Chorus Worldwide Games, Speed Limit is one of the most jam-packed pixel art action games out there. Available on PC, PS4, Switch, and XBox for the low price of $9.99, Speed Limit is no story, all action. Just run, gun, go. Perhaps the game’s Steam page says it best: “Speed Limit is an old-school action extravaganza boiled down to its core elements: Hard. Fast. Addictive.”
Speed Limit opens up on a commuter train, focusing on one guy chilling on his phone. Suddenly, a ragged man shambles in to the car, stumbles over his feet, and lands on the phone-scrolling man. Just before hitting the floor, he hands him a gun, and men in suits begin their pursuit; so it begins. RUN.
When playing Speed Limit, understand that nothing is really explained to you. You literally just hit the ground running — and I do mean running. If you don’t immediately move into the next train car, you’re dead. Start over. If you don’t jump over the suitcase in your way in the next train car, the men in suits will catch up to you and shoot you dead. Start over. If you don’t shoot the soldier in the car after that, he’ll shoot you first. Dead. Start over. Make sure you turn around and get the men in suits chasing you, otherwise — dead. Start over. You are going to die so many times in Speed Limit — and you’re gonna enjoy it. Start over.
Speed Limit’s action doesn’t stop there — why would it? After clearing the train, you’ll hop right into a blood red convertible, going from side-scrolling action to a top-down adrenaline rush. Keep shooting and start ramming into the enemy cars, until it’s time to hop on the nearest motorcycle, the camera changing to OutRun style. Dodge traffic and keep blasting away at the bad guys, but don’t go too slowly or the monster truck following you will crush you alive. Now shift again, this time into a helicopter on an isometric camera angle. Use the helicopter’s guns to shoot enemies above and below. Then — with me? Then, you eject yourself from the helicopter onto a missile hurtling towards a fighter jet, which you then jump onto and commandeer. Fucking awesome, right? Now you have to shoot down other fighter jets out of the sky, Top Gun style. Hell. Fucking. Yeah.
In some ways, Speed Limit is pretty perfect for a retro-hearted outlet like HeyPoorPlayer.com. That no hand-holding, die, die again gameplay is exactly what gamers of a certain age cut their teeth on, and it’s always fun to see that done in a way that pays homage to games gone by while improving on the formula. Speed Limit does this in spades, providing generous checkpoints and no unskippable cutscenes with annoying dialog to memorize and repeat back at the TV out of frustration. Speed Limit asks players to keep going — and keep dying — to do a little better each time.
In other ways, Speed Limit falls a little short, and I mean that in the most literal sense possible. Speed Limit has two difficulties, and if you’re decent enough at these kinds of games, you can beat both in about an hour each. You can unlock the time attack and endless modes, but even then it’s still the five same levels. If you’re a speedrunner, this is absolutely going to be up your alley, but if not, you’re going to find yourself greedy for more explosive content. I also found the keyboard controls to be a little unfortunate, so you’re definitely going to want a controller for this one.
Despite any perceived negatives, Speed Limit is that adrenaline-bumping, heart-thumping, dolphin-punching, brain-melting entertainment that calls back to the 80s in the most delightfully volatile way. The pixel art direction is gorgeously mind-blowing, the music is electrifying, and the cinematography is hands down some of the best I’ve ever seen in a pixel art game. Make no mistake, Speed Limit may be on the short side, but it’s by no means unfinished — it just leaves you wanting more in the best way possible.
Speed Limit is a love letter to the rush of emotions felt during off-the-wall action sequences of the 80s. It’s engaging but not enraging, explosive but not expensive — just like an all-out action game ought to be. Some players may lament at the game’s length, but all good things come to an end sooner or later, right? And for only $9.99, it’s honestly a great price for the cinematics alone (with a physical release by Strictly Limited Games on the horizon!). If you love over the top action movies and games and want to grab a new speedrunning experience, Speed Limit is a must buy.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: Xbox, Switch, PS4, PC (Reviewed); Publisher: Chorus Worldwide Games; Developer: Gamechuck; Players: 1; Released: February 17, 2021; MSRP: $9.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Speed Limit provided by the publisher.