Razed – Xbox One Review
Born to Run
In the nineties, before Keanu Reeves became a Zen Master and gun wizard, the world fell in love with him and Sandra Bullock in their simply titled blockbuster ‘Speed’. The movie cast Reeves as a cop driving a bus which was booby-trapped with a bomb. Keanu had to drive the bus at breakneck speed for as long as he could – stop (or go slow) and everyone would be BLOWN TO SMITHEREENS.
Wait Paul, you say – what has your encyclopaedic and fascinating knowledge of movies got to do with Razed on Xbox One? Well, here’s the connection – developer Warpfish Games have created a speedrunner in which your character is equipped with exploding shoes. Move fast, or lose power – lose all of your power and YOU WILL BE BLOWN TO SMITHEREENS. With me now?
Joking, and hokey movie references aside, Razed is a remarkable piece of work for Warpfish’s two person development team. Levels are brief by design, power ups and new skills (use of which burns a little more of that precious shoe power) come thick and fast, and 60 levels across 6 distinct areas offers plenty of variety.
The first few levels are deceptively easy. I found my confidence growing, until I realised I’d only really beaten the tutorial. The learning curve is steep, and before long you’ll face some extremely challenging levels. That said, speedrunner games are supposed to be difficult, and Razed delivers in spades.
Each level has a timer which will determine your rank once you beat it. Each level is beatable even by amateurs like me but some with more trial and error than others. I found the S Ranking elusive in some levels but the option to replay levels to improve your ranking is always welcome, and adds some value to Razed’s package.
Graphically, it’s hard to judge – everything moves so fast, that on reflection each level is a blur of colour and movement and there’s no time to stop and admire the scenery. The soundtrack provides an apt but unobtrusive backdrop to the action, hitting just the right notes at the right times.
There’s more than enough variety, challenge and replayability here to make this a worthwhile purchase for nimble fingered fans of the genre. Perhaps less so for casual players, who will almost certainly find themselves frustrated by the difficulty. Each of the 6 areas of 10 levels concludes with a boss encounter, all of which are hard as nails. There’s a huge amount of satisfaction to be had in beating what seemed like an impossible ask and Razed does a fine job of tempting you back in for another try.
In part this is due to good level design and the aforementioned variety, but tight, responsive controls play a part too – you’ll blame yourself for your failures, rather than the game.
It won’t appeal to everyone, but for fans of the genre, Razed is a treat. Beware the learning curve and prepare to be patient and you’ll be rewarded with a challenging but fair experience. A steady influx of new mechanics and tricks keeps the game fresh, and thoughtful level design provides enough variety that playing to the end is both enjoyable and rewarding.
Razed is available now. Speed is in stock at your local Blockbuster! (Yes, I’m that old – deal with it).
Thanks to PQube Ltd. For the code.