Speed Limit opens with a disheveled-looking man stumbling towards a passenger on a drain before handing him a gun and collapsing. At this point, players take control of the unfortunate passenger as all hell breaks loose around him. The game instructs you to run as a small army of heavily armed special forces suddenly takes an interest in your character. It is quite a jarring start to the game, but the game expects you to hit the ground running and keep going until the credits roll.
Although you start in a train with the ability to jump, crouch and shoot, the game throws players into many other situations as the action continues to escalate. There is never a dull moment in Speed Limit, from a top-down highway chase to a Super Hang On style motorbike race. It’s a good thing that the protagonist is proficient in piloting helicopters and jet planes, too, as these also make an appearance.
Speed Limit is, without a doubt, an action-packed title, but it can also be rather frustrating, especially to players who did not grow up sharpening their skills in an arcade. Fortunately, the game has an “Easy” mode that tones things down somewhat compared to the actually quite challenging “Normal” mode. In addition, the game doesn’t have a shortage of checkpoints, and after death, it only takes a few seconds before you are right back in the thick of things. Speed Limit is also not a random game, which means that with enough trial-and-error or decent observation skills, you’ll begin to see a “safe” route through all the dangers thrown at you. It can still be rage-inducing to get hit by a bullet flying from somewhere offscreen or smack into an obstacle that you didn’t see in time, but with enough practice, the game can be mastered.
Apart from the short introduction scene, you won’t find much of a story or any dialog in Speed Limit. Levels rush past in the blink of an eye if you are good enough, and your character flings himself from one genre to the next with reckless abandon. This is great for adrenaline junkies as there is barely a chance to catch your breath before fighting for your life again. Unfortunately, it also means that the ten levels in the game fly by in a blur. In fact, there’s even an achievement for completing Speed Limit in 30 minutes or less, but to be honest, it’s going to take a few tries to become that proficient at the game.
Because Speed Limit throws together so many different genres, there will invariably be some levels that certain players enjoy more than others. For example, we really enjoyed the motorcycle part of the game, but the jet fighter part, which plays like an inverse After Burner, felt like it dragged on for too long. Then there’s the final boss, which is sure to cause easily frustrated players a lot of grief. Completing the game unlocks an “infinite” mode where hardcore players can attempt to get as far as possible as the game continues to loop through all the levels. The developers also released an “Arcade Edition” update for the game, adding two brand new modes. The Arcade mode features a nice CRT-style overlay for the game and adds credits, lives, and a high-score counter. Playing this mode allows players to compete for high scores and the option to play with unlimited credits also makes it a lot more forgiving. On the other hand, Neon Mode takes the motorbike section of the game and turns it into a relaxing Synthwave experience. Driving your bike along an endless highway while soaking in the synth soundtrack and Vaporwave visuals is a great way to relax after dying countless times in the main game.
Visually, Speed Limit sticks closely to the classic arcade-style and 16-bit titles from which it draws inspiration. The pixel art visuals feature a lot of detail, though, and everything has been hand-drawn frame by frame, which is quite impressive. The soundtrack is also very fitting, and all 40-minutes of it, along with a 44-page artbook, is included free with the game. A special mention should also go to the sound effects of Speed Limit, which is as loud and authentic as you would expect from an arcade title. The game is definitely best played with a decent controller as on most levels, you can shoot in different directions, which is more intuitive using an analog stick to aim. The controls are very straightforward, though, so players who prefer using a keyboard should be fine.
Speed Limit can be rather frustrating initially as death comes for your character fast and frequently. This can feel unfair at times, and some players may consider the trial and error style gameplay too tedious. However, stick with it, and it soon becomes apparent how addictive the game is. As we mentioned before, some levels are more enjoyable than others, but the developers have done a commendable job bringing so many different genres together in one game.
Players who relish a challenge will have a blast with Speed Limit, but thanks to the “easy” mode and frequent checkpoints, there’s fun to be had for more casual players too. Completing long sections without dying is immensely rewarding, and the game rewards players who pay attention and learn from their mistakes. Our biggest gripe is that we wish there were more levels in Speed Limit, but the different modes, as well as the achievements to earn, provides plenty of reasons to keep coming back for more. Having said that, Speed Limit is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, so be sure to try out the free demo for a taste of what to expect from the full game.
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: Any x86 CPU
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics or better
- DirectX: Version 11
- OS: Windows 10
- Processor: Any x86 CPU
- Graphics: GeForce GTX 980 / Radeon R9 FURY or better
- DirectX: Version 11