Stay Safe is a fast-paced racing game made for people with three specific traits: A good sense of humor, a need for speed, and a willingness to throw themselves at the same racing track time after painful, frustrating time, for nothing besides the thrill of finally beating it.
The game sets up in a sleek, cyberpunk setting, featuring futuristic glowing roads, with the rolling dunes of a vast desert stretching far beyond the horizon. You’re thrown into gameplay without only a moment’s hesitation, as a message briefly crosses your screen that reads “Stay with me. Don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You will be safe with me.”
You jump out of the gates with a ship that looks strikingly different from the rest of the high-tech, polished structures around it, which only adds to the idea that you’re running from something, and you took whatever you could get. Maybe it’s not the fanciest thing on the planet, but it’s built for flying across a racetrack – literally. When you hit jumps, you can take to the skies to hit the next, distant platform, gliding smoothly over until you’re close enough to drop.
With your keyboard or controller – your choice – you boost your way up to frightening speeds, rounding bends as quickly and sharply as you can to avoid crashing into a wall, or falling to your death in the sands below. Either one would spell disaster, as your racer explodes into constellations and light. The game reminds you of how close you got to the goal, only to have it fall just out of reach, and then playfully taunts you with a “RE RE RE RE RETRY” button, just in case you forgot how many times you’ve died.
(After a certain number of deaths, they mercifully hide most of those “RE’s” behind an ellipsis. Even so, you know your sins, and so does the cringing skeleton head that tracks all of your deaths.)
The game feels smooth, even with a keyboard, to the point where you can begin to know by muscle memory the minute adjustments you’ll need to make to round the corner you keep missing. Everything is beautiful and colorful, and you find yourself drawn in by the graphics, but not to the point where they’re distracting. Having only played the demo, since the game isn’t out just yet, one can’t help feeling that the developers at Atomic Raccoon Studio have found the perfect balance for their game.
There are hints of a “story mode” in the full release, and the Steam page promises swinging blades, giant robots, and “hidden dark portals” – so it sounds like there’s quite a lot to look forward to!
If you want to try the demo for yourself, you can find it on Steam. Stay Safe comes out officially on May 22nd.