Speedrunning is something I watch quite regularly to relax. Seeing players who are extremely knowledgeable about the game beat it in record times is enjoyable and thrilling. There are a few games that build themselves to appeal to that crowd and give everyone the ability to try to speedrun their games and trying to cash in on that from Twitch and YouTube streamers. Sherwood Extreme is the latest one to try it, a simple-looking game set in a world where you’re the next best thing after Robin Hood, sniping trolls with your bow and arrow.
It’s fairly easy to get into, which is probably the main appeal of Sherwood Extreme. Instead of having a high skill level requirement, basically anyone can pick it up and play it and try to compete with the faster players in the game. There are global leaderboards as well which tell you your relative position based on the amount of points you score which is comprised of your speed, the amount of health you have and the amount of enemies you kill. It’s pretty nice because it’s not a game where you have to put tens of hours in it just to be good, which, for me, is perfect. I much prefer a game I can dip in and out of and this fits the bill perfectly.
Sherwood Extreme is a very shallow game. Sure, there are quests that respawn but they just have mutators for one of the six different maps. There’s a horde mode too which could in theory give you endless gameplay, but it falls a little short. All told, you’d be able to see everything the game had to offer you in about an hour if you were taking your time. The first few maps are pretty quick as well, you’ll be able to get around and find your way pretty easily, but the latter couple are a bit more open and the route to the end isn’t always very clear. There are a few hidden collectibles in each level, but I don’t actually know what good they are or what they’re for, it just seems like a pointless bit of busywork.
Which is actually my next issue with the game. I found plenty of shortcuts in some of the larger levels, but none of them actually helped because despite plopping me somewhere potentially closer to the end, I actually had no clue where I was. Given that the aim is to get to the end as quickly as possible, the game really doesn’t give you very many pointers on where it is you need to go – or even what you need to do when you get to the end. I don’t actually recall being told anywhere that you need to open the chest at the end of the level, so players that haven’t seen it, or maybe passed it by before it spawned, could be stuck in a level for a very long time.
There’s also a lack of usability options in the game, which is something I’ve been increasingly more aware of lately. You’re told that the keys to use are WASD with the mouse to aim and shoot, but if you’re not on a QWERTY keyboard, you’re a bit up the creek. I was playing this with a Belgian friend who was using an AZERTY keyboard and he had to mangle his hands in order to make the game half way playable. In the end, he gave up and just piggy backed on me and shot things as I ran through the level.
If I was asked to describe Sherwood Extreme in a sentence, I’d probably say it’s a first project in Unity which quickly turned into a bit of a cashgrab type game. Even with the lack of content, there are premium, paid for features that I genuinely don’t understand. There’s nothing to the game beyond half an hour of gameplay, which is padded out by boring repeatable quests that don’t really add a whole lot to the game. There’s a long way to go to make this game worth downloading, even as a freebie, and I just don’t see the appeal personally.