Hazard Saviour

A game by Sinclair Strange for PC, originally released in 2023.
Hazard Saviour is an open world action-platformer that takes its inspirations from Crazy Taxi. You take on the role of a plucky little fellow who must pick up people – and the occasional dog – and deliver them to their destinations, but instead of driving them around, you carry your passengers on your back. The world is filled with dangerous obstacles and enemies, so you’ll need to avoid traps, blast enemies, and find your way to the drop-off point before time runs out.
You begin each run near the top-left corner of the map in a forested area, and there are five biomes in all, including an underwater area, caverns, a factory, and an area near the top of the map filled with pillars and clouds. In the caverns, you’ll need to contend with moving and crumbling platforms over pools of lava, while the sky area features spikes and blowing wind, and the factory has lots of electrical hazards. The forest and underwater areas are a little less treacherous, since you’re mainly just dealing with enemies.
As you blast baddies, you build up a score multiplier, which is banked until you drop off your passenger. Like Crazy Taxi, this encourages a bit of risky behavior in order to build greater rewards, since your combo resets if you take even a single hit of damage. There is no actual health meter, but taking damage also reduces the total amount of time on the clock, which determines the length of your run. Time can only be added back by picking up fares, with more time added based on the distance to the destination, which is indicated by green, orange, or red icons (just like Crazy Taxi).
The time limit isn’t terribly strict, and most players will be able to drop off passengers and explore the world without too much fear of running out. Also, as you explore the world, each room is added to a metroidvania-style map, making it easier to plan your route on future attempts… or you can buy an upgrade that reveals the entire map. Until then, you can check the map to see where the drop-off point is in relation to your position, and an arrow appears in the top-center of the screen showing the direction you need to travel and how far away you are from your target.
Rather than simply trying to rack up as many points as possible, the game includes multiple shops where you can spend your points on weapons and upgrades. There are double jump boots that ease navigation, upgrades that increase your defense and damage output, one that nullifies damage from spikes and lava, and even one that slows down the clock.
There are also eight different weapons to unlock, each with a different projectile type, and these draw from a recharging energy meter that affects their fire rate. Weapons include a Contra-style spread shot, lasers, bouncing projectiles, homing orbs, a rapid-fire weapon, and missiles. For the most part, your default blaster does a pretty good job, killing most enemies in one or two hits, firing all the way across the screen, and never draining the energy gauge.
This makes most of the other weapon choices optional to suit your playstyle, leaving you free to spend your money on upgrades. That said, there’s also an item that causes your energy meter to fill more quickly, thereby allowing you to make constant use of some of the more powerful weapons. This powerup combined with the rapid fire laser or homing orbs can make short work of a room full of enemies, thus increasing your payout when you drop off your fare.
The game was developed as part of a game jam, and so it’s more of a proof-of-concept than a fully fleshed out experience, so there are a few bugs, and the game isn’t terribly balanced. As a result, skilled players can easily break the game’s economy once they’ve made a few drop-offs and scored some upgrades. You’ll continue to grow more powerful as the world around you stays the same, effectively flattening the difficulty curve within an hour of play. Still, it’s worth a whirl to see the developer’s trademark charming enemies, retro-style designs, and inviting open world.

Hazard Saviour was developed by Sinclair Strange, a developer based in the UK. The studio previously released Running VoltGun, Jet Gunner, Crypt Stalker, and Burning Ravager. The game was made for Ludum Dare 53 with a theme of “delivery”, and the entire experience was developed in under 72 hours, with the exception of one bat that the developer was fond of from a previous jam.