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Speed Brawl (out now) puts a sporty speedrun spin on arcade fisticuffs

Punching the clock given new meaning

Punching stuff is fun, and Speed Brawl proves that punching everything fast while bouncing around the screen like a loon is even better. Released on Tuesday, Double Stallion's Speed Brawl is a platform beat 'em up set in colourful steampunk 1880s Britain after an alien invasion. The nation is rebuilding, and Speed Brawling (what it sounds like, really) is the new national sport.

There's six playable characters (three scrappy ladies, two lads and a big robot in a top hat), optional online and local co-op some light RPG elements and a ticking clock to race against. Hurry and check the launch trailer below.

Speed Brawl is about flow. To get the best rank on any given stage, you've got to optimise movement as well as combat. You can't scroll forward while baddies are on screen, so you'll want to build up combos on easier groups while saving your screen-clearing super moves for more spread-out swarms. There's also a tag-team aspect - you get to bring two characters into any given level, ideally one for running fast, and one for punching bigger enemies (including some huge alien bugs) hard. You can specialise character builds later on, too.

I've yet to dig into Speed Brawl myself (it's on my weekend to-play list, though), but have been watching a lot of it streamed by Games Done Quick regular, brawler aficionado and generally cool dude Clint "Halfcoordinated" Lexa. Take a peek at this stream recording from yesterday if you want to see a good scrappy lad hammering his way through it. Just don't skip too far ahead if you want to avoid story spoilers - he plays through the latter half of the game over the course of that six-hour marathon session. It looks like a good time, and with some real depth, too.

Speed Brawl is out now on Steam and GOG for £15.49/€16.79/$20, and is published by Kongregate.

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