Speed Limit

A game by Gamechuck for PC, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One, originally released in 2021.
Speed Limit is an all-action-all-the-time arcade-style experience that seamlessly crosses multiple genres from one level to the next with no breaks in between. It is a love letter to over-the-top action games and the halcyon days of the arcade where players intermingled and experienced multiple gameplay types at the drop of a quarter… only here, all of those genres are packed into a single experience.
The game is comprised of several action vignettes across 11 short levels, with gameplay changing every two levels. It starts out as an on-foot sidescrolling shooter before transitioning into an overhead driving game that swaps between horizontal and vertical perspectives, and then into a faux-3D over-the-shoulder motorcycle driving game, after which it transitions into an isometric helicopter shooter, and then to an into-the-screen jet fighter sequence, before reaching a finale that ties the whole thing together.
At no point does the action stop, as levels end with the player jumping into each of the different vehicles while travelling at full speed. Transferring between moving vehicles is – of course – the stuff of Hollywood action films, a theme that this game embraces fully as the player jumps into a convertible from a moving train, then from the car onto a motorcycle, then jumping into the air to enter a flying helicopter, and then riding a flying missile into the cockpit of a jet. The filmic aspect is also enforced by a letterbox effect that, in true over-the-top style, isn’t always able to contain the onscreen action.
The game offers two modes at the start: Easy and Normal. Once the player completes the game, an infinite mode and time trial mode are unlocked. Despite taking place across multiple genres, the controls are quite simple. While on foot, the player can run to the left or right, as well as jump, duck, and shoot, whereas all of the vehicle segments are auto-scrolling, giving the player the ability to speed up, slow down, or move back and forth to dodge vehicles or line up to target enemies.
The SHOOT button is always the same, regardless of the vehicle type, and the second button is an ACTION button that serves different functions depending on the type of gameplay. While on foot, this button allows the player to jump, but when driving the car, it allows the player to aim in eight directions to take down enemy vehicles. Similarly, it allows the player to aim to the left or right on the motorcycle instead of shooting straight ahead. In the helicopter, this button fires missiles, and in the jet, it fires flares.
When the game begins, you find yourself standing on a commuter train minding your own business and reading your phone when a haggard-looking fellow limps in from the next car and falls down in front of you, knocking your phone out of your hand and replacing it with his gun. A man in a black suit and sunglasses stands up and aims his own gun at you, at which point you hold your hands over your head, but suddenly an armored SWAT team enters from the rear of the car… and you decide to run (or get shot to death in a couple of seconds if you don’t).
As you run through the train, armored police come at you from every angle – from ahead and behind, and even crashing in from above – and the SWAT team continues moving up from the rear, ensuring that you never stand still for too long. You blast them with your newfound gun, which fortunately has unlimited ammo, as you continue moving forward. There are also some guys in hats, trench coats, and sunglasses that blend into the scenery a bit, but they drop their newspapers when you pass and run up behind you to attack with knives, and eventually you encounter a whole car full of these guys.
Shooting your adversaries results in pixelated sprays of blood that are tame by today’s standards but are on the high end of on the mature scale for what players experienced in the arcades. Eventually you encounter a huge stack of luggage that blocks your path… until a guy with a bazooka comes up from behind you and blasts a hole in the roof of the train.
At this point, you climb the luggage pile and the action transitions to the roof of the train as you now face guys with gatling guns, as well as pursuing helicopters, while you sometimes have to duck under or jump over objects that are quickly scrolled onto the screen, or jump between separating train cars. Throughout this entire sequence, the train occasionally enters tunnels, leaving the player to fight in partial darkness with everything in silhouette. This adds quite a bit of style but puts the player at a disadvantage by limiting his view.
In most other games, this kind of visual impairment for the sake of style would indicate a weakness in design, but in this case, it’s core to the experience. Because the game is so fast and the enemy forces are so overwhelming, first-time players are expected to die frequently until they manage to commit enemy locations to memory.
Getting killed results in a VHS-style rewind effect as the player is cycled back to the most recent checkpoint. Given the overwhelming odds, the distance between checkpoints is actually quite significant, resulting in a fair amount of repeated gameplay. On the other hand, the total length of the game is so short that the experience would be over very quickly if not for these repeated sections.
At the end of this sequence, a red convertible drives up alongside the train, driven by one of the suit-wearing guys. You jump inside and send the driver tumbling along the highway as you speed away. The camera pulls up above you and you enter a horizontal driving sequence where you must dodge traffic and contend with enemy vehicles.
You can speed up and slow down, but you cannot stop, and the default speed is fast enough that you are likely to inadvertently slam into barricades. Doing so causes your vehicle to stop suddenly as you are thrown through the windshield and your skull cracks open on the pavement.
Barriers are telegraphed by traffic cones to help you avoid them, but you sometimes need to swerve into oncoming traffic, which gives you even less time to react to avoid a head-on collision. All the while, you fire your weapon into the windshields of enemy vehicles, target motorcycle drivers, or ram them off the road. As with the train sequence, your view is occasionally impeded as you drive beneath overpasses.
Things get tougher as you swerve around barriers and deal with narrowing roads, and then you transition into a vertical section. Here, you deal with many of the same challenges until you eventually confront a boss in the form of a huge armored truck. The truck has a metal scoop on the front that can smash your car (a car ramrod) if it runs into you. Once it gets in front of you, baddies come to the back to man a gatling gun. You can keep killing them, but every time one dies, another takes his place.
After a few passes, you eventually end up in front of the truck as the road narrows, and you need to stay in front long enough that the truck can no longer follow. This boss sequence is a bit out of step with the action in the rest of the game as it’s not always clear what the player needs to do to succeed – as opposed to other levels where shooting or dodging is always the answer – and it requires the player to start the challenge from scratch with each failure. This can lead to a lot of repeated failures as the player experiments with different tactics.
From here, the player kicks a guy off a motorcycle, and the camera pulls behind him for an over-the-shoulder driving sequence. In a nice touch, the player is required to maintain speed in this sequence, and if he doesn’t, a truck comes up from the foreground – partially obscuring the player’s view as he sees himself through the truck’s windows – and if he doesn’t speed up, he gets smashed by the truck, sending a spray of blood up onto the windshield.
The player dodges in and of traffic while shooting other motorcycle riders that come up alongside him, and occasionally dealing with large trucks that have a pair of machine gunners in the back. There is an added challenge here as the road curves and has dips and hills.
The faux-3D effect is quite smooth compared to Sega’s classic sprite scalers, offering some pretty spectacular views and a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere compared to the preceding vehicle sequence. In a nice touch, spent shell casings bounce into the foreground.
The motorcycle sequence ends with a battle against a helicopter, but it’s less difficult than the armored truck, as you’re simply tasked with hitting a few ramps in succession, at the end of which, you take over the helicopter in an isometric shooting sequence. This sequence has a significantly slower pace than the others. Lining up shots against the boats is somewhat challenging, since you need to track your bullet spray as it hits the water – which looks cool as it tracks back and forth – but it’s also easy to dodge enemy attacks and ignore them.
There are a few flying enemies that must be defeated with missiles, and some objects to be avoided, but it is generally easy compared to the other levels. Completing this sequence results in a couple of jet levels where you must speed up and slow down to get behind enemy aircraft and blow them out of the sky. This all leads to a final boss encounter against a tough enemy that requires you to be very mindful of avoiding incoming fire, lest you be forced to repeat the battle from the start.
The game offers some lovely pixel art designs and animations, and there are lots of nice details and effects throughout the experience. The game’s arcade leanings are obvious from its art design, sound effects, and soundtrack, along with its reliance on frequent deaths… although the early deaths are a bit too frequent to be reasonable within the context of a true arcade experience, where each death literally comes at a price. Instead of an arcade-era game, it’s more of a 90-minute popcorn action flick from that same era, where the hero faces impossible odds against an equally impossible backdrop of flashy action, car chases, and explosions.

Speed Limit was developed by Gamechuck, a studio based in Zagreb, Croatia. The credits include creative director Igor Kolar, programmers Vanja Karanovic, Karlo Koscal, and Sara Pranjic, pixel artist Jurica Cvetko, level designer Jan Juracic, and composer and sound designer Matija Malatestinic.
The game was published by Chorus Worldwide Games, publisher of numerous titles across multiple platforms, including some versions of Forgotten Anne, Vasara Collection, RPGolf, The Coma 2, Defenders of Ekron: Definitive Edition and Outbuddies DX.