Game review: Highway Runners – classic arcade fun and a fast-paced driving test

Developer Brownieless does right by players with a quick update of its recent release, which harks back to the ’80s classic Out Run with bright visuals and a retro soundtrack

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 10:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 10:03pm

Highway Runners

Brownieless Games

4/5 stars

I loved the 1980s arcade game Out Run – I shudder to think how many coins I fed into it at the old arcade in Shun Tak Centre.

At the time, this eight-bit game that had you racing down palm-tree-lined roads was unrivalled, and all but set the tone for nearly every driving game that’s been released since. So with no sign of Sega ever re-releasing the original, I’ll happily settle for Highway Runners.

Available for OS devices, the game was released to little acclaim over a month ago, but developer Brownieless just last week added an update that immediately addressed its initial driving issues and iPad support.

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It’s all the better for it, and Runners is about as classically arcade as things get. Players don’t have go through boring tutorials or loading screens, and from start to race, it’s a quick 10 seconds before you’re thrown into the middle of its fast-paced mix.

Along the way, you’ll grab cash, break random objects and even drive into crowds (non-violently, of course). The more in-game cash you gain, the more you can buy, including car ornaments, daytime cycles and a “zen” mode that eases up on road traffic. In-game cash is thankfully won rather than bought with real money, and the entire game sets you back a flat HK$15 or so, with no micro-transactions to spoil the vibe.

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Better than the gameplay, though, is the old-school sense of design – a true love letter from Brownieless Games. Along with the brightly coloured visuals that alternate between Miami-like beachside landscapes and chilled California-centric scenes, is a retro soundtrack that fully embraces chip-tune.

There’s room for improvement here – the graphics can be a little glitchy, and some of the races feel a little repetitive – but if the latest update is any indication, the developers care what players think and are willing to give us what we want.

That’s rare in this ego-filled gaming world, and if nothing else, should get you to give this a run.