Cycling along with your son strapped into the child seat attached to your bike, there are few things you would expect less than a circular saw removing your leg. It throws off your balance, but for the sake of your son’s life you keep going, dodging huge spinning logs and landmines! You see the finish line as you knock down a teenager who was stood in the wrong place at the wrong time, but you have to keep going, blood spraying across the grassy park behind you. An arrow hits you in the shoulder but you carry on, only for a cannonball to smash into you, decimating you both.
Welcome to Guts and Glory, the physics-based gore-filled racing game that’s just hit Early Access. It comes from a solo developer, HakJak Productions, and is published by the maniacs at tinyBuild. I say that with love, as I’m a fan of a number of the titles they’ve put on Steam. This is no exception, as HajJak has put together a number of my favourite things in one place.
You control someone on a vehicle which obeys (somewhat) Newtonian physics, and is at risk of being delimbed or decapitated at any given moment. Unless you reach a checkpoint or finish line first. If you lose an arm or a leg (or both) you can continue on, but there is a threshold for how much punishment you or your ride can take. Of course, your passengers are expendable.
The options are limited at the moment, but you control one of a couple of contestants in the Guts & Glory competition. The storyline is less than barebones at the moment, so there’s no telling why they would do this, but just go with it. You have John and his son Jimmy on a bicycle, Earl on his ATV and the Yang Family in a convertible. There are only 26 levels, including the tutorial, but there are going to be more contestants and levels added as the game progresses through Early Access.
Where the game gets a lot of weight from is the level creator, which is tied into Steam Workshop. To give you an idea of how active the community is, there were 161 levels created in the game’s first six days on sale. Sure, some might have been made from beta tests, but it’s still a crazy amount of levels.
I tried a selection of levels from the Steam Workshop, and they are pretty well designed. I had a fiddle with the level creator, but lack the ability to put the image in my mind into reality. It’s why I’m a better writer than I am an artist, and having read this you must realise how awful my artwork is. There’s a prototype character who you can use on some community levels, called Larry. He’s a guy in a jet-powered lawn chair, so of course is the best character out of all of them, due only to the fact he has an ersatz jetpack, and jetpacks always win.
One of my favourite parts is the deformation of the Yang’s car, which is pretty awesome. One of the Workshop levels I tried had a bunch of cannons firing at it, and it got bent into some funky shapes. All of the vehicles handle differently, as you’d imagine, and you can tell that a ton of work has gone into making them. In fact, the levels themselves are also well designed. I didn’t find one official level that was impossible, though many of them which were tricky.
At it’s current price (£6.99), Guts and Glory is hardly going to break the bank, but you might want to wait for a little more content to arrive. There are 100 official levels planned, but currently you could spend days designing the perfect course in the level editor if that’s your type of thing. If not, there’s a wealth of community made levels to challenge you.