Do you like Super Meatboy? Do you like 8bit Runner? Does powering through levels that test your hand-eye coordination to the brink of enraging failure sound like a jolly afternoon to you? Well then I have just the game for you! Sprinter, currently on sale on Steam for $6.39! Developed by Light Step Games.
Sprinter, like most “run from point A to point B” games, requires you to run from point A to point B while avoiding a cornucopia of obstacles such as guards, cameras, doors, and random drops to the unknown void. Avoiding these obstacles require acute hand eye coordination. As the game goes on the more difficult the levels become and with any good game design, the game slowly introduces more mechanics through the steady progression of each level.
By the time I had decided I had had my fill, I had semi-mastered slow time and void jumping, along with the basic open door, avoid guards and cameras gameplay. Now I’m not the biggest fan of games that press fast puzzle solving techniques. For me, Meatboy was fun for the first world or two and then the stress became bothersome so I dropped the game entirely. Sprinter however captured me. I found no interest in the story. The gameplay was frustrating beyond belief. However I felt myself compelled to beat as many levels as possible. With each success I roared with triumph, happy to have proven to myself that I was capable of beating what they had challenged me with.
Granted there were times were I genuinely felt cheated. I would walk through the center of the open door only to be halted and forced to restart. Or I would leap across the void only to have it stop me mid leap and force a restart. I was rather intoxicated when I played this game though. I won’t lie to you friends. However, when I sobered up, the timing of each button push and each action was so unbelievably critical that the level designers must have had a target audience of robots.
But… that’s what made the game so satisfying. Every success was so well earn. Every victory was given to me by my own determination and aggravation, it made my success so much more enjoyable.
Everything about it was pleasantly simple. The music was soft and gently, reminiscent of the beginning of Where the Streets Have No Name by U2. The graphics were akin to basic blueprint drawings on a sketch pad. The gameplay was simple “push this when you see this obstacle” which is as basic as gameplay gets compared to the diverse and often complex mechanics of most modern titles (at least from a designers stand point).
Overall, as much as I screamed, as much as I broke away for my own sanity, and as much as it absolutely infuriated me- Sprinter did what every single game should aspire to do: it enraptured me.