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Super Impossible Road is a racer that's all about falling off the track

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Cheaters always win

During every Awesome Games Done Quick event, I pay particular attention to the Mario Kart block. The reason is that I love watching the speedrunners hit every shortcut with surgical precision. It requires knowing the exact angle and timing for the situation, and there's something thrilling in seeing that knowledge lead to optimal results.

Super Impossible Road reminds me of those Mario Kart runs, but if every course were Rainbow Road. Made by a lone developer under the studio name Wonderful Lasers, the game features Super Monkey Ball-like spheres rolling down a long, narrow, winding track. It's a racer, so first to the bottom wins.

The hook is that there's nothing keeping you on the track. Super Impossible Road wants you to careen carelessly off-course, hopefully touching down somewhere below, suddenly leap-frogging your opponents. The game encourages it literally at all times. In fact, according to its website, the official motto appears to be "cheating is winning."

Easier said than done, though. No matter how tempting it is to take a chance, success will only come with well-timed leaps of faith. Super Impossible Road has a fading-out effect so that too much time spent in the air means that you return to the last gate you bothered to cross. Sometimes it can be a very big setback.

Even though it's a racing game, I have a hard-time thinking of Super Impossible Road as such. Instead, it feels like a quick-on-your-feet puzzler. The tracks are all procedurally generated, so there's no way to rely on memory to excel. You need to be able to instantly identify an opportune moment to take a jump; being overzealous will usually result in failure.

Eventually, it turns into a game of risk versus reward. Toward the bottom of each level, there is little path remaining to leap to. Down there, maybe it's easiest to just ride on the track until reaching the finish. But doing so offers very slight chance of passing any opponents, or if you're in first place, means opponents could successfully fly past you. Strategies have to be formed instantaneously, and the game lends itself to a lot of "hindsight is twenty-twenty" retrospectives.

Speaking to developer Kevin Ng at this year's GDC, he sees potential for his game with the local party crowds. Four player split-screen makes it seem optimal for that. However, there's also online multiplayer, career, and survival modes. Super Impossible Road is going onto Steam Early Access next month, and will get a full release on PC and PS4 later this year. When it does, throw out the old adage; just this once, cheaters always win.


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Brett Makedonski
Brett MakedonskiManaging Editor   gamer profile

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