A few weeks ago we were introduced to Sprinter, an extremely challenging running game with a twist. Sprinter proves to be a difficult bottom prompt game as you attempt to beat the clock to make it to the end.
Sprinter is a unique running puzzle games that will have you dodging guards, avoiding security cameras, opening passage ways and picking up unseen treasures all while making your way around steep corners and passages ways until you reach the end.
Sprinter was developed by UK studio Light Step Games, an independent developer that was founded by Karam Idris in 2015. Their goal was to create something wholly unique and challenging. The mission of Light Step Games is to always make challenging titles based around the idea of the “perfect solution.”
Tell me a story …
In Sprinter, while you are running around avoiding getting caught or trapped you aren’t just playing a great challenging puzzle game, you are also uncovering a tale of three different stories. Rosie, Emily, and Lyle are three individuals who all have a reason to want to run. Each chapter within a stage reveals more about the character and their situation in a unique comic strip like manner. As you get past each individual level and chapter, you’ll learn more about a family torn apart by unspeakable tragedy. This is a deeply personal narrative, told through “memory fragments” displayed in comic book form between each level. Moving forward in the game also means finally understanding what Rosie, Emily, and Lyle went through.
I am going to say right up front, if you are looking for a challenging game, look no further. Sprinter is no easy run and far from a light jog. Even on the easiest setting, which they have and claim to be the more forgiving of the 3 settings, it was a white knuckle cursing experience for me.
It would be an understatement to say that Sprinter was all just about running fast. You will be challenged against precision, muscle memory, and quick reflexes. You faced with several obstacles on the run, with the objective of never slowing down for anything and hope that you manage to complete each of the game’s levels within the allotted time.
The controls are actually annoyingly simple, to the point that it bothers you the most when you can’t remember a simple button prompt when you are under the pressure and the clock. Some of the basic controls that you will learn at the beginning of the game and will continue throughout the entire game are going through a way (A), distracting guards (X) and disabling security cameras (flick up on right thumb stick). As you progress through the game you will learn other more complex moves, but these three will be consistent. That all sounds easy enough, but when you have at times less than 7 seconds to get to the end of the stage while running and executing those prompts with precision, it becomes less and less of a simple run and move game.
Oh the glitches
Now I am not one to talk about glitches much, every game has them and majority of the time the glitches we may encounter are either just comical or don’t really talk away from the overall joy and experience of the game. I did find one in my experience with Sprinter that did make the game slightly frustrating for me. When you activate one of the before mentioned button responses, if you select the wrong prompt the game may move the camera forward to where that next prompt really is and you no longer see yourself. The response to reset the game and start that run from the beginning. However when what you don’t expect is to have that happen even when you do hit the correct prompt. For me, several times when attempting to active the disable the camera prompt, even if there was a camera right in front of me, it would bounce to a further one causing me to have to reset the game. The first few times I thought it was me, but it happened over and over again.
Sidetone: I am playing with the Steam Controller, which the thumb stick that would be used for this is replaced with a track pad. Typically it responds fairly accurately but this could be the cause of my particular issue. Just watch for little stuff like this and if you find them, send the developer a quick message so they can address the issue head on.
The artwork of the game play as well as the storyline in between the stages and simple yet effective. The game play is literally a bunch of well placed lines to make up the character that is running and the hallways you are running in. This minimalist aesthetic approach that is rich with a color palette that shifts slightly as the player progresses through the story so simple but yet done so well. And lastly what brings the entire experience together is the atmospheric soundtrack that reacts to the your actions as you progress (or don’t progress) through the stage.
You can pretty much get lost in Sprinter and lose all sense of time and responsibility to … life. With it’s endless instant retries you can keep pushing and pushing yourself get even faster and faster times. I consider this a game to keep always in my Installed Library just so when I have friends come over I want to just challenge them to see if they can manage to make it to the end in time. And if you started on easy like I did, there is even more challenge ahead as you make your way through each level from there trying to get even faster times and tackle even more obstacles along the way. The button prompt combos get fierce.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I really enjoy Sprinter. Even with the annoying glitches I experienced that had me replaying levels over and over again, I still really enjoyed the experience. And for the price $7.99 on Steam now, you can’t go wrong. I know for sure, if you enjoy a good timed challenge, you won’t regret this purchase.
“Sprinter is both game and art piece. Levels may seem simple on the surface, but beating the standard Pass Time takes more than twitch reflexes: You need to keep your speed high, anticipate hazards, and move with the utmost precision if you want to see the next story panel. And you will want to see it — because the plot is at the very heart of the game.”