I Hate Running Backwards is a shoot em' up rogue-like endless runner video game that was developed by Blinx Interactive, produced by Croteam and published by Devolver Digital. The game was released on May 22, 2018 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
I Hate Running Backwards is set in the same universe as the other Serious Sam games, though at an undisclosed moment in time. Ugh-Zan, one of Mental's subordinates, has been put together from the parts of Ugh-Zan and Hugo and sent to the future to stop the group of heroes from fighting Mental. Ugh-Zan's mind was uploaded to the new mechanized body and he can also transfer it to the tank module that is stored inside his body as a last defense mode. Thus, Sam and the other heroes travel through time to ensure the defeat of Mental's minions once and for all.
Unlike other Serious Sam games in the franchise, I Hate Running Backwards features characters from different franchises that were published by Devolver Digital, with the exception of Nuclear Throne, which was published and developed by Dutch video game company Vlambeer.
- Crystal (from Nuclear Throne)
- Dancing Denzell
- Dumpster Dave
- Fast Finger Freddy (Wild Wyatt)
- Lady Death
- Lo Wang (from Shadow Warrior)
- Rambro (from Broforce)
- Richard (from Hotline Miami)
- Serious Sam
- The Bullet (from Enter the Gungeon)
- Zombie Zed
- Beheaded Bomber
- Beheaded Firecracker
- Beheaded Kamikaze
- Beheaded Rocketeer
- Cucurbito the Pumpkin
- Hatchling Antaresian Spider
- King Scorpion (Boss)
- Kleer Skeleton
- Lava Golem (Boss)
- Marsh Hopper
- Major Bio-mechanoid (Boss)
- Minor Bio-mechanoid
- Mumbo Jumbo
- Scrapjack (Boss)
- Sirian Werebull
- Ugh-Zan (Boss)
- Ugh-Zan Tank (Boss)
I Hate Running Backwards is unique to the Serious Sam series, as it contains characters from the Nuclear Throne, Broforce, Shadow Warrior, Enter The Gungeon and Hotline Miami series of video games. The player picks a hero, who runs backwards and shoots downwards at enemies. Design-wise, the game is reminiscent to that of Minecraft. In addition to guns, the player is be able to destroy obstacles and deflect projectiles using a melee weapon. The game environment is also completely destructible.
The player controls one of 12 characters, 9 of which can be unlocked through gameplay. Each character has two different primary weapons they can use, except for "The Bullet", who has only one weapon. Each character also has a unique ability be it an ultimate ability that he/she has to charge or a passive ability that is always active. These abilities offer a different play-style for each of the characters.
The player progresses through 5 different environments that are procedurally generated. The environments follow a set path, the order is always Sand, Jungle, Medieval, Mines, and Greek. At the end of every environment the player faces one of the games six bosses. The last environment's boss, Ugh Zan, has two different forms, and it's fought as two different bosses. After killing the final boss, the player enters a time portal that teleports them to the first environment but with increased difficulty. Loops can be run endlessly and get more difficult each time. Loops increase the number of enemies and all the games enemies can be spawned on all environments after the first loop. The increase in difficulty also raises the number of environmental traps that can kill the player.
Killing the game's bosses unlocks shrines in the game lobby that can activate curses. Curses add additional mechanics to the game that makes it more difficult. The curses range from additional environmental traps, like poison, to death lasers that follow the player around the game world. Each curse also adds a modifier to the final score. The curses add a way for the players to naturally increase the difficulty to the point that suits them.
The player character starts of with a basic pistol weapon that has infinite ammo and a melee weapon. During gameplay the player can pickup ammo for their primary weapons or destroy weapon crates to get special weapons. The 34 special weapons each have a unique twist to them, for example, the biomedic sniper can heal the player, while the gravity gun can group up enemies and make short work of them. The player unlocks new special weapons by completing different tasks in the game.
While playing the player defeats enemies and destroys the environment to gather mojo, the game's equivalent to experience. When enough mojo is gathered the player level ups and gains a perk which they can select from a group of three different perk per level. The perk they will get on the next level up is also indicated to make it possible to plan out builds one level in advance.
The game has two main game modes, single player and local coop mode. Singleplayer can be extended with the daily run which has its own leader-board. The daily run can be played only once a day; it has a random character (even ones that the player hasn't unlocked yet) each day, and the generated world is predefined for all players to have a similar gameplay experience.
Development on I Hate Running Backwards started back in 2016. The developers of the game, Binx Interactive, are a small team consisting of only five developers who worked on video games as a hobby, but were showing up to game developer conferences in Croatia. On one of the conferences Croteam's CEO Roman Ribaric and CMO Damjan Mravunac decided to introduce Blinx to their new Incubator program. The idea of the program was to provide local developers with the support and equipment to make full-fledged video games.
The idea for the game came from Serious Sam's catch-phrase: "I hate running backwards" alluding to him constantly having to run backwards from enemies to avoid them killing him. The game was first structured as a simple action endless runner game with the focus on leading enemies into environmental traps that were spawned behind the player. The challenge in the game would come from the player having to avoid the same traps he would have to lead the enemies into. One of the games programmers, Denis Mraović, came up with the idea to add the hammer swing mechanic into the game at one point, as he felt that the constant shooting tired him out, and he wanted to have something more to do during game-play.
The game was first shown to the public at Reboot-Infogamer in 2016. where the game won the best gameplay award. The game's hammer mechanic led the developers to introducing a redesign in graphics and the world. The whole game world was made destructible with the goal to make the experience more hands on. During the development cycle the game took shape as a rogue-like endless runner that turned the shoot-em-up genre on its head.
Sometime during 2017, Croteam and BinxInteractive got Devolver Digital on board as the game's publisher. As the development moved on, the team felt that they needed more distinct characters to fill the rooster of heroes. Devolver came up with the idea to use characters from their other IPs. Many of the games that inspired the team like Nuclear throne and Enter the Gungeon had ties to Devolver directly or from previous projects. The game features twelve characters. Three characters are from the Serious Sam universe (Sam, Denzell and Fast Finger Freddie), Richard from Hotline Miami, Rambro from Broforce, The Bullet from Enter the Gungeon, Crystal from Nuclear Throne, Lo Wang from Shadow Warrior and 4 unique new characters (Dumpster Dave, Zombie Zed, Chux and Lady Death).
I Hate Running Backwards received mixed to positive reviews from game critics. Metacritic gave the game a score of 71%, while the game scored 8/10 on CGMagazine, stating "I Hate Running Backwards is a much needed and refreshing tribute to the classic arcade shoot 'em up, that, in spite of a few odd difficulty spikes, is highly addictive and absolutely worth the time spent—and at times lost—to it.", while the game scored 71% on Metacritic.