Stay Safe is a “Try & Die” kind of game: You’re only tasked to reach the end of the level and perhaps do it as fast as possible while you’re at it, but you’ll end up having to retry certain levels dozens of times before you succeed. Just check this gameplay video I made and you’ll notice it took me 84 attempts to beat the last level of the video.
Graphics, Audio & Performance
Stay Safe looks great. The futuristic setting with dark tones & neon colours is one that I personally find very pleasing to look at. Suffice to say, I was happy to see this vibe kept throughout all three worlds. You can also immediately tell it’s a Unity game because of its look & feel but especially by how fast it loads.
You have unlimited boost and the obstacles come at you at blistering speeds so it’s very welcome that you have sufficient draw distance to plot your course in advance (when it doesn’t throw curves in the road to cleverly hide deadly traps at least). But worry not: if you die, you instantly get warped back to the start and you get to try again.
Stay Safe takes some brave decisions when it comes to the soundtrack. You have the expected electronic keyboard + drums tracks but surprisingly there are also quite a few classical piano + violin ones and they… match the gameplay quite well actually! Even if you’re crashing and dying all the time, the soundtrack never skips or reloads which avoids a lot of frustration or sensory overload.
One thing that’ll be immediately apparent is that you can’t brake in this game. You can boost or dash sideways (do a barrel roll!) but there is nothing you can do to slow down.
This makes the game considerable harder (better, faster, stronger…) and will cause a lot of deaths, especially when you’re required to go through timed gates. Instead, the game prefers that you train your reflexes and muscle memory. You’ll die a lot, but that’s the very intention. After each death you’ll even be treated to a Bruce Lee quote to inspire you to keep at it.
Most of my deaths came at the expense of badly timing when a gate would be open or close, or by just dashing into a block because I thought I had passed it already. The obstacles that are most often thrown in your path are simple blocks ,but it’s kind of hard to judge exactly how big they are and when it’s safe to change lanes. For those of us without perfect spatial awareness, it would have been welcome to see thinner walls instead.
The most interesting levels are those that throw some unique visual elements at you, like jumping over big gaps, looping upside down or dodging flippers, balls or wheels.
You’ll also notice the green collectible in the screenshot above but this is a RARE case of the item being on your path. They are often on hard to reach places and frequently even in spots I think are impossible to reach! I’m afraid I’ll have to wait for players way better at the game to upload YouTube videos so I can see what’s expected of me. Their placement does teach you one vital thing: it’s not always necessary to stay on the obvious path, you can sometimes shortcut from one road to another below it, Mario Kart Rainbow Road style!
Beating the competition can also be a huge motivation to retry a level. If you see that you’re close to being top 10, the temptation is always there to give the level another go. The only issue at the moment is that the rating system seems to be off. The people ahead of me are only better by milliseconds, yet I got a D rating. I later retried with 100% boost and less dashes but that didn’t seem to help much.
Those statistics aren’t just there for show though. The game has 75 levels, but only 60 of them can be accessed simply by progressing the game and getting to the finish line each time. There are some VERY strict requirement to get the other 15 levels.
I can’t stress enough that this isn’t an easy game by any means so it’s a good thing then that many steps have been taken to avoid players from getting too frustrated. Rarely is it the game’s fault when you die, but it does happen on occasion: When jumping is involved, you’ll sometimes clip through the track upon landing and fall to your death. The score would have been drastically reduced if this happened more frequently, but thankfully that isn’t the case.
Don’t expect to have a switch flipped in your head and to suddenly be good at the game either, Stay Safe constantly introduces new haymakers like gates that need to be opened by staying on a hazardous path, stretches of road where you can’t dash or (gasp!) MOVE! I’m ashamed to admit I had to skip a handful of levels because I just couldn’t see the solution, but it’s addictive enough that I’ll undoubtedlt try again later.
Stay Safe was a nice surprise. I hadn’t heard about it prior to reviewing it so it’s possibly in need of a better marketing campaign (and a more google-friendly title) but don’t let that stop you from giving it a try yourself. For a cheap asking price you’re getting a game that’ll test your mettle and which offers plenty of replay value. I for one will try to climb those leaderboards for days to come (and I’ll have to read a lot of Bruce Lee motivational quotes in the process!)
Want to see more footage? Here’s a video with some levels in the second world: