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I Hate Running Backwards is an insanely fun shoot em’ down developed by Binx Interactive and published by Devolver Digital. You can play this bundle of fun on PC, PS4, Xbox One and a summer release on Switch is also in the works. And more good news: get a co-op party started on your couch as well. “Time to kick some @ss!”

In I Hate Running Backwards you do simply that.  Run Backwards! To defend yourself from the enemies approaching you are given various weapons that you start with or unlock for future runs. You also have your trusted hammer if enemies get a little too close for your gun, or destroy your surroundings to find new ammo or health. Fail to conserve or pick up the ammo supplies laying on the ground and you will be reverted to your slow firing pistol. Binx Interactive does a great job of mixing in popular characters that you play as from previous games such as Shadow Warrior, Hotline Miami and of course Serious Sam.

Gameplay

After hitting start on the main menu you’ll be dropped in front of a portal which you enter.  There isn’t even a quick tutorial to help you get the hang of things. You just get in there and start spraying bullets until you clear the boss fight. The goal of the game is simple. You shoot downwards at waves of incoming enemies in an attempt to survive as long as you can with the limited HP you have.  At the end of each level will be a boss fight.  Defeating the boss will unlock a checkpoint so that if you die on the next level, you can skip the previous level.  The game is roguelike meaning once you die you are awarded various perks and unlocks that can show up in future runs to help you out.  Each time you play, a level will be different as well.  Maps are procedurally generated and sometimes you can even get a day or night version of the map.  You never get to truly learn a map and feel like you are getting better at it.  Each run can vary so much that it isn’t a guarantee your next run will be more successful.

And this game also provides two player local coop which can make the game easier provided you have someone skilled to play with. It would be awesome if the mode was made online to play with a bigger pool of players but it’s great to already have the couch coop option. #DreamOn

Visuals and audio

What was most impressive was the performance of I Hate Running Backwards.  Running the game on PS4 provided a stable framerate no matter how many enemies were on screen.  The graphics have plenty of detail as the world is almost fully destructible including the enemies.  As you shoot or smash the enemies with your hammer they will shatter in Minecraft looking blocks.  No crashes or major bugs prevented me from enjoying my time with the game.  It’s very important in a roguelike game that it doesn’t crash, as each time you come back you return to the start.

Even without a story mode to play through, you have 40 trophies (or achievements) to earn in I Hate Running Backwards, which will not be an easy completion. We are talking real skill needed (unlike my playthroughs). There are a few trophies tied to doing perfect runs which require never taking damage. Most people will be able to get the various achievements tied to deflecting missiles or unlocking the weapons in the game but most will struggle to complete runs.

Verdict

I love that this arcade shooter is packed with awesome action, something I only used to say about Housemarque titles. It looks good, plays great and co-op with a mate on your couch it’s as much fun as you’ll ever have. An online co-op mode would complete the package, but we should leave the salt on the table.
Binx Interactive have done an amazing job and for just 14,99 you should definitely buy the “Best Indie of GamesCom 2017” right now!

About author

Jorge Wolters Gregório

Gamer dad who loves the classics, indies, racers and the occasional shooter. Have been in the industry for well over a decade and am as enthusiastic as ever! #4theplayers