I Hate Running Backwards: But I love killing monsters | PAX East 2018 preview

Credit: Binx Interactive, Devolver Digital
Credit: Binx Interactive, Devolver Digital /

Watch out, Infinity War! Devolver Digital’s I Hate Running Backwards is gunning for the title of ‘most ambitious crossover event in history.’

I hate running forwards, let alone backward. Thankfully, I feel quite the opposite about Devolver Digital and Binx Interactive’s upcoming on-rails shooter; I Hate Running Backwards. I should have known to take the game’s title seriously; your character is literally running backward, killing hordes of enemies trying to catch you. As silly as it sounds, the game proved unexpectedly challenging and hilariously enjoyable. I was even less expecting it to be the wild, indie-game character mash-up that it is.

Since Binx Interactive worked with Croteam, the developers behind the Serious Sam franchise, I knew that I Hate Running Backwards was a spinoff game of the horde-slaying shoot ’em up. But what I didn’t expect was that they were bringing Devolver Digital’s A-list cast of action heroes into the game as well.

This is more than just Sam Stone kicking ass and taking names. Lo Wang from Shadow Warrior and Rambro from Broforce were just two notable badasses who join in on the destruction. Oh, and the enemies? Those are from different games too, including Serious Sam.

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I Hate Running Backwards plays like an endless runner mixed with a bullet-hell shmup across randomly generated, destructible, pixel block art style environments. Why walk when you can run? This is a fast-paced, chaotic, and silly game of dodging, shooting, hammering, and destroying. This game is just as much about destroying the environment and sending pixel blocks flying through the air as it is about shooting enemies with weapons.

Players have two primary weapons they can switch between. Every character also has their own special abilities and unique weapons as well, each of which requires ammo that you must pick up throughout the level. That’s why destroying things is so important: you can find ammo, power-ups, and special weapons throughout the level. And you will want to get your hands on one of over forty of these wacky weapons. Weapons like pinballs that bounce between enemies and “The Ass Blaster,” which farts out toxic clouds. This is a Devolver Digital-published game, after all.

I Hate Running Backwards
Credit: Binx Interactive, Devolver Digital /

I Hate Running Backwards is a mechanically focused game. The levels are all randomly generated, but there are a set number of worlds with specific bosses at the end of each. Once you defeat a boss, you can unlock a relic which acts as a difficulty modifier, populating the levels with additional challenging hazards to deal with.

The game is all about seeing how long you can survive and how high of a score you can ring up. Once you die, that’s game over. Even though the levels are randomly generated, the relic system combined with the brutality of the difficulty levels themselves bring some hectic and fun challenges to the table.

I Hate Running Backwards
Credit: Binx Interactive, Devolver Digital /

If you want to add even more chaos to the game, play I Hate Running Backwards in local co-op mode. This is how I experienced the game during my demo at PAX East 2018, and it is insane, both regarding hectic gameplay but also in terms of fun. I can see this being a quick game to play with buddies on the couch. The controls are very simple, too, making I Hate Running Backwards easy to pick up but seemingly hard to master.

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To add to the ambitiousness of this crossover game, I Hate Running Backwards is set to release on all platforms this coming May. That’s right: PC via Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch all at once. If you’re in the mood for some action-packed destruction, look no further.