UPDATE 14TH SEPTEMBER: I’ve just head back from developer Binx Interactive and the Nintendo Switch version of I Hate Running Backwards is apparently going through certification now, and should be ready in a matter of weeks.
ORIGINAL STORY 13TH SEPTEMBER: A transformational patch quietly rolled out yesterday for wrong-way-around shoot-’em-up I Hate Running Backwards, and it’s now even better.
I’ve been playing the game for months with my son (Lava Golem still flattens us). I Hate Running Backwards is the game I tried to convince you could fill a Broforce-like hole when I wrote about it in May. It’s a voxel-y, Serious Sam-y, couch-co-op-y romp. Yes arguably nothing can fill a Broforce hole (my son and me love it immeasurably) but IHRB isn’t far off.
Still, IHRB had issues. The biggest, Croatian developer Binx felt, was how IHRB looked – it didn’t stand out enough. I Hate Running Backwards has had a makeover as a result. Characters now have big heads and a much stronger sense of personality because of them, and presentation has been brushed up across the board. The game seems brighter and more colourful – you no longer begin each level in a kind of cave, for one thing, but in a bright, sunny, outside area instead.
There are game-changing mechanical alterations. The most obvious is the newfangled ability to swap – and upgrade – your guns. Previously you couldn’t do anything of the sort, but now you can visit lockers at the beginning of the level or after each boss kill and change your loadout – and after each boss kill you’re offered higher-tiered stuff.
There are new power-ups in the game, including the ability to shoot while you spin. Spinning is the way you hit back projectiles, smash scenery (for XP and hidden health pick-ups) and batter enemies within range; shooting while you do all this… I can’t wait. There are patch notes available to see in detail what’s changed.
They’re all alterations which ought to, at least to my mind, make the game more conquerable. IHRB only gives you one life to get as far as you can, you see, and level-up-powers only last as long as you do. If you die, you start again. Go on, see how well you can do.
I Hate Running Backwards is £11 on PC and £12 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A Switch version was announced for “late summer” but there’s no sign of it yet; I’ll investigate.