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A vote of confidence for new arcade co-op shmup I Hate Running Backwards

  • April 1, 2019
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I love Broforce and I’m constantly looking for games like it – fast and fun arcade games I can play with someone else at home. Well, one was released yesterday which fits the bill.

The game is I Hate Running backwards, published by Devolver and made by Croatian team Binx Interactive, and it’s available on PC (?11), PS4 and Xbox One (both ?12).

It’s a top-down, vertically scrolling shoot-’em-up for two players (on the same machine). I Hate Running Backwards’ twist is instead of facing enemies coming from the top of the screen, you face enemies coming from the bottom – you run, as the name suggests, backwards.

I’ve been playing it and it’s bright and voxelly, pacey and tight. And tough. Not only does the switcheroo of perspectives mean obstacles appear behind you, adding another thing to think about, the enemies and bosses are not shy about killing you. You will frequently try again (and doing so is quick) on procedurally mucked-about-with levels, attempting to beat your previous progress and score.

The enemies are straight out of Serious Sam – shouty bomber men, spider people, skeletal horses, bulls – and they come at you in similar, panic-inducing quantities. IHRB comes from the incubation initiative at Serious Sam creator Croteam, you see, and publisher Devolver has allowed use of characters from Shadow Warrior and Enter the Gungeon and other games too.

Each of the characters has their own pros and cons, weapons and ultimate abilities, which can be used after building up enough charge. Lo Wang from Shadow Warrior has lower health but a better melee spin attack, for instance, which is a crucial ability all characters have – it not only takes cares of enemies about to harm you but repels bullets and projectiles too.

On top of that, IHRB has an imaginative assortment of super weapons, from a refrigerator gun (freezes enemies) to a witch’s hat (produces a kind of laser) and umbrella (makes bullets rebound of the sides of the screen).

In other words, I Hate Running Backwards seems to be a well-made and well-stuffed package of over the top arcade co-op fun.

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