Sprinter is nowhere near the knife in the heart that many other experiences into reality are, but it still forces players down the path of life as opposed to a fantasy exploration. Sprinter is two completely different things all at once.
It seems to be an increasing trend in the indie gaming community to lean more and more towards artistic projects. I am always open to different ideas and experiences. That Dragon, Cancer is a prime example of what you couldn’t imagine a game would be based on but is executed incredibly well. When we received our copy of Sprinter, I was immediately interested in what might be in store.
Sprinter is nowhere near the knife in the heart that many other experiences into reality are, but it still forces players down the path of life as opposed to a fantasy exploration. Sprinter is two completely different things all at once. On one hand, Sprinter is a stealth-based running game. You must make your way through the minimalist halls of nondescript buildings. making your way through narrow paths avoiding; cameras, guards, and collecting treasure. On the other hand, Sprinter is also an experience in the real world. You face real-life struggles all tied together with the theme of running from your life, past, and reality.
Sprinter definitely covers very heavy subject matter that many people will be able to relate to. This is not the first game these topics are explored, but Sprinter does an incredible job of presenting these tough topics in an almost childlike whimsy. From the beautifully minimalistic artwork to the light-hearted soundtrack. You just can’t get burnt out on the overall experience. This game is not going to weigh you down and in the end, makes you feel like everything is going to be better.
Strip away the presentation of the game with all of its beauty and you will find something much deeper and darker inside. You will find a game that does not care about taking it easy on players, nor caters to anyone. Sprinter is hands down a difficult game. The key to mastering each level is going to come down to reflex and memorization. Each stage is cleared by running through a hallway, meeting a certain series of button presses, within a very short span of time. Press X to distract a guard, up to dodge a camera, L to collect a treasure, and then press the wrong button to smash your controller into the table out of frustration. Sprinter gives no apologies for how difficult it is and even on easy took me numerous attempts to clear certain levels.
Once you have the entire process down and are able to complete stages, you will find that Sprinter is a fairly short game. On the easiest setting, I was able to clear Sprinter in under 2 hours. After you have completed each stage on Normal you do have the option of repeating with a shorter time clock to beat the Gold difficulty. This does add some replayability. This is really the biggest shortfall of Sprinter. I loved my time with the game, I just wanted more of it.
In the same breath Sprinter is both an artistic look into humanistic behavior and a glance into the psyche. Once you begin to dig deeper into what is offered, you will realize it is much more than that. Sprinter is an incredibly deep game without attempting to be pretentious. It tells a story through a wonderfully illustrated narrative while tieing in gameplay that reinforces what we all have wanted to do, run away. Life is difficult, Sprinter is difficult, but as in life you just have to fight your way through it and in the end, it’s all worth the frustration.
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