DeathSprint 66 hands-on preview


What if you were playing Mario Kart and threw a red shell at your opponent, instead of just throwing them aside, you blew them up instead? This is exactly the kind of unconventional approach Sumo Digital is preparing in DeathSprint 66, which is basically a real killer version of Mario Kart.

DeathSprint 66 takes place in a dystopian future that is part GhostRunner, part Running Man. The game’s plot involves you taking on the role of a runner forced to take part in a deadly race for the entertainment of online viewers. This race is not only designed for speed, but also for danger. This futuristic race track is full of traps, laser beams and other deadly additions that will truly make your run a race for your life.

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I managed to play a few rounds during the Summer Game Fest and was extremely impressed with what I saw, thanks in part to the proven arcade racing style mechanics but with some wild twists.

While there are no racing go-karts here, your runner will effectively sprint in much the same way. The right trigger is for acceleration, and you’ll have to “drift” around corners and time your release to get a sudden burst of speed. Along the way, you’ll have to avoid deadly environmental traps and collect random power-ups like mines, circular saws, and a powerful, deadly dash that’s DeathSprint 66’s answer to the power of Mario Kart Bullet Bill.

But these are not only deadly obstacles. There are neon-lit rails to traverse, immense walls to run on, and boost pads to further boost your speed. It’s all very over-the-top, and the races are quite fast-paced, so I imagine it’ll be basic to play a few rounds with friends online.

For fans of Mario Kart, DeathSprint 66 will seem awfully familiar. But as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The core gameplay of brutally racing to victory and trying to sabotage seven other players was incredibly fun during my hands-on experience, even when I was only playing against AI opponents. I imagine the challenge and fun will only boost with the addition of seven other real players to the team.

Visually, too, DeathSprint 66 goes all out. This is supposed to be a futuristic game show, and the neon-drenched racetracks, lasers, and futuristic cityscape paint a gorgeous, dystopian portrait of cyberpunk excess. And while the player character was fairly generic, I was told that the final game would feature customization options and cosmetics that would aid make your character truly yours.

DeathSpring 66 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does have a good feel for what makes arcade-style racing games fun. I can easily see DeathSprint 66 becoming the recent Fall Guys, a quick and fun pick-and-play game between marathon sessions of your favorite RPG.

Matt TM Kim is senior features editor at IGN. You can reach it @lawoftd.

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