Best Games To Speedrun | Games Rants
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Best Games To Speedrun | Games Rants

There’s no better way to wow gaming friends than by blasting through one of their favorite games at a record pace. Be it a complex RPG, frame-perfect platformer, or RNG-reliant rouge-lite, just about every game has at least one recorded speed run attempt. It’s not surprising to see, as speedrunning brings a certain allure and satisfaction scarcely matched. It’s a feeling of conquering a video game in an entirely new (and often exclusive) way. It’s like a game within a game; just a very, very difficult one…

RELATED: Best Fast-Paced Games To Get Your Heart Racing

But which are the easiest to get into for starters? Professional speedrunners often say players should start out with a game they already love, but running through anything hundreds of times will doubtlessly get old. These titles, however, should serve as good starting points for those either looking to get into the speedrunning scene or simply hoping to impress a few buddies. So, what are the best speedrun games?

Updated September 4, 2023 by Mark Sammut: Speedrunning has been popular for decades, to the point of growing its own established scene, competitions, and databases. There is no greater demonstration of a player’s expertise than executing a speedrun capable of ranking among the fastest in the world, and platforms such as preserve this data. Consequently, this article has been updated to highlight the users with the current fastest times (in specific categories).

25 The King’s Bird

Soaring off a cliff in old ancient region in The King's Bird

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any%

42m 53s 196ms



Speedrun Platform


This platformer from Serenity Forge may not be on the radar of many, but it nonetheless soars as an underrated pick for speedrunning. This is thanks to the fluid movement and accessible controls of this sidescroller; which feels akin to a slightly tamer version of Sonic.

Players will run, fly, and glide through a variety of lush, silhouetted locales, using a dash move as their main weapon and transport. The King’s Bird is minimal in terms of hazards and baddies, making for a great entry-level speedrun option. Rather, the game emphasizes speed, momentum, and precision to traverse each area. While increasingly tough, this exhilarating ride has rapid-fire retries to ensure ample practice through trial and error.

24 Untitled Goose Game

Geese terrorize a child in Untitled Goose Game

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any%

2m 04s



Speedrun Platform


This zany romp by House House is known for its amusing “troll humans as a devious goose” premise and unique puzzle-stealth gameplay.

While running around as a honking bird and clearing the end in minutes may not be the most exciting or interesting feat, it’s certainly one of the easier games to any% speedrun.

RELATED: The Best Indie Games of 2022

The game allows for players to slip past certain barriers by simply holding a boot (and later fine china) in their beak, dropping it, and quickly nabbing it back up while trekking through certain objects to “clip” through them. If executed correctly, the goose can get its hands (or beak, rather) on the coveted bell and bring it back to its den in just a few minutes.

23 Super Mario 64

Mario and Toad inside castle Super Mario 64

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – 120 Stars

1h 37m 35s



Speedrun Platform

Nintendo 64

One of the most popular games to speedrun for pros and newcomers alike, Super Mario 64 was found to be a great option for the activity fairly early on in the advent of the practice. Many continue their own attempts for this delightful 3D platformer, and in fact, a new record (no stars collected) was recently hit by YouTube user Kanno.

The element to be exploited for a great any% speedrun conveniently can be accessed right when the game begins by having Mario do a funky backward long-jump combo in Peach’s Castle. Doing so in the right location will have the plumber glitch and clip through walls, practically slingshotting himself into the hall that leads to the first Bowser stage. Mario will then obtain a key and can complete just a few more stages.

However, what’s handy about this one is that the star collection system allows for multiple “tiers” of speedrunning, each with its own trials and difficulty so players can pick which route best suits them.

22 Celeste

Madeline running past flags in forest in Celeste

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any%

25m 19s 919ms



Speedrun Platform


Crafted in 2018 by Matt Makes Games, Celeste swiftly turned into a hit with its charming retro style and its wildly tough platforming trials. But while this punishing, hazard-laden trip will almost surely invoke rage, its heartfelt and somber storyline can spur its own emotional reaction; one that can bring tears.

The intensity of this vibrant, metaphoric game mirrors the anxious motifs represented by the downtrodden heroine, who must overcome her depression and anxiety by overcoming literal obstacles thrown at her relentlessly. While this highly difficult test of wits and emotion may have some speedrunners pulling their hair out, the frantic pacing and rapid-fire redoes make this one quick to learn and complete once someone is ready to prevail.

21 Pokemon Snap

shellder biting slowpoke's tail and making them evolve together.

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any%

20m 32s 467ms



Speedrun Platform

Nintendo 64

This one is highly unique, both as a speedrunning option and a game at large. Branded as a “first-person photography game”, or perhaps more fitting, a passive rail shooter, Pokemon Snap lets players sit back and enjoy the ride as they examine and snap Oak-approved photos of them at their best

RELATED: New Pokemon Snap: All the Legendary Pokemon in the Game

This Pokemon-admiring trip is entirely (and literally) on rails, which adds a calming simplicity to one’s speedrunning trial, as the game restricts going off the beaten path and thus faltering. However, the biggest factors are that hazards are very few and dying is impossible, mitigating the worry for do-overs. Just a few shortcuts and tricks here and there — like avoiding camera moves and maximizing photo points — will give even newcomers a chance to reach the end quickly.

20 Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night

Alucard fighting a monster in Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any% (Alucard)

15m 38s 983ms



Speedrun Platform

Xbox 360

This fan-favorite rendition of the classic horror action game is great for any% speedrunning because its core content is actually fairly short, while the gameplay and mechanics are complex enough to be exploited. There are also a number of tricks players can utilize that are fairly easy to grasp.

These include spamming Alucard’s Back Dash and canceling quickly with his shield to keep a high speed, and screen-skipping pause glitches. And it helps that the game’s tight controls and physics make Symphony of the Night both reliable and fun to play for the long haul. As a result, this remains one of the best games to speedrun.

19 Streets Of Rage

Cop firing bazooka from cop car in Streets of Rage original

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Normal (Blaze)

25m 09s



Speedrun Platform


Given the short length of this Genesis classic, and its (literal) straightforward nature, Streets of Rage makes for an enticing speedrunning game for beginners. While far from easy, the game is more forgiving than other entries in the series and also offers a limited set of moves that are fairly simple to pick up.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this ’91 romp is one of the most renowned beat ’em ups to this day, despite Streets of Rage 4 giving it a run for its money.

18 Undertale

Undertale Standing Next To Christmas Tree

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any%

52m 11s 433ms



Speedrun Platform


While subtly packed with depth, this role-player is simultaneously minimal and simple in terms of art style and gameplay alike. The game runs with retro turn-based fighting reminiscent of EarthBound and old Dragon Quest, though developer Toby Fox brings novel concepts with timing-centric combat and unconventional mechanics.

RELATED: Top Retro Indie Games That Will Make Players Feel Nostalgic

While the core campaign can run about seven hours, some speedrunners have burned through this colorful journey in under an hour. Since its 2015 release, Undertale‘s uniquely charming style and wild battle system have given it cult status among gamers.

17 Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey New Donk City With Mario and Cappy

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any%

56m 40s



Speedrun Platform


Completionists are well aware that this epic Mario adventure is far from small, as it’s loaded with dense places to explore and countless Power Moons to gather. However, much like 3D Mario romps that preceded it, making it through Odyssey‘s core campaign is a far quicker and easier feat.

Potent powerups, shortcuts, and the ability to buy a number of Power Moons allow players to breeze through the game in just a few hours or less. It also helps that the seamless open-worlds allow players to rattle off several Moons at once, minimizing loading screens and overworld traversal. Those who know where to find some of the collectibles will be able to burn through the game relatively quickly. It’s these traits that make Super Mario Odysseyan Any% favorite for many.

16 Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong on mine cart apporaching bananas in Donkey Kong Country for Super Nintendo

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – All Stages

30m 40s



Speedrun Platform


Simple, beginner-friendly speedrunning doesn’t quite apply to Rare and Retro’s Donkey Kong Country sequels, to be sure. Yet, it’s a very different story when it comes to the ape-tastic platformer that started it all. Not only is the game on the passive side, but there are also quite a few shortcuts via barrels and other secret findings.

With solid mechanics, few collectibles (yes, this was Rare in the early days), and a smooth flow and pacing to the game — Donkey Kong Country is an appealing speedrunning option for first-timers.

15 Super Mario Maker 2

super mario maker 2 cart

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Story Mode (Any%)

1h 38m 48s



Speedrun Platform


This platformer might look like something just for kids on the surface but Super Mario Maker 2 has the same difficulty as any other Mario platformer. Potential speedrunners simply need to learn some of the basics of each mode instead of some of the more complex glitches found in other games. There are even guides for players who want to speedrun story mode.

RELATED: The Best Mario Games To Speedrun

Taking records on custom levels is where some of the real fun starts to happen. Player profiles keep tabs on how many courses they have world records for, and top players like PangeaPanga and LilKirbs steal records from each other all the time. Being a click away from showing off records held makes it easy to show off those speedrun successes.

14 Limbo

limbo player character running towards pit of spikes and enemies

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Normal Route

39m 23s



Speedrun Platform


An indie darling from way back in 2010, Limbo is a trippy, dark indie game that will test a player’s puzzle-solving skills as much as their platforming prowess. It only takes two or three hours to get through this excellent platformer on a first run, and even amateur speedrunners can tackle this one in less than an hour.

Available on Steam for just a few dollars and capable of being run on even the potato-est of PCs, Limbo is easy to get into and fairly straightforward for those looking to optimize their runs. It shouldn’t take long to get the hang of this and post a respectable time.

13 Nova The Squirrel

Nova the Squirrel split image of underground area and sunny plains area

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any%

15m 27s



Speedrun Platform


One of the most difficult parts of getting into speedrunning can be buying a game, especially for would-be speedrunners on a budget. So why not pick up a homebrew game that is not only free but looks amazing once mastered? Nova the Squirrel is an indie platforming game designed for the NES that can be played via an emulator.

The game has similar aspects to Kirby where the player copies abilities. Certain abilities like the hamburger and icebox can help players clip through and skip entire portions of levels. The game was once featured at Fleet Fatales, an all-women’s speedrunning event hosted by Games Done Quick. If the best in the business have shown off speedruns for this title, it’s certainly worth a try.

12 Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Mike Tyson centered in ring with fists up in Mike Tyson's Punchout

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Single Segment

14m 46s 480ms



Speedrun Platform


This may seem like an odd inclusion, but the NES classic Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! usually makes for an oddly compelling speedrun experience. A fighter in a distinctly non-traditional sense, Punch-Out speedrunning almost feels more akin to DDR than something like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, and some pros have become so familiar with the button combinations that they can quite literally jet through the game while blindfolded.

RELATED: Most Heartbreaking Speedrun Fails Of All Time

Unlike most speedrunning tactics, Punch-Out isn’t reliant on frame-perfect inputs or unreasonably specific exploits. Instead, it’s all about a player’s knowledge of timing, and a seasoned pro can get through this title in less than twenty minutes. Some players can even run the game blindfolded but we recommend saving that for the experts.

11 Portal

GLaDOS looking at Chell

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Out of Bounds

5m 50s 340ms



Speedrun Platform


2007’s legendary puzzler Portal isn’t a very long game, to begin with — new players can probably get through it in an hour or two — but speedrunners have managed to shave that down to less than ten minutes. Rife with exploits and out-of-bounds glitches, Portal serves as a great introduction to those looking to get into Any% speedrunning.

Portal’s level select makes it easy for speedrunners to practice any part of their run without slogging through the entire game, and it’s an easily accessible game with a great community surrounding it. Even a slower speedrun will impress those unfamiliar with the game, and it’s a great way to look like a pro without investing a lot of effort.

10 Night In The Woods

Mae is greeted in the supermarket of her home town in Night in the Woods.

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any%

1h 50m 27s



Speedrun Platform


On the surface Night in the Woods doesn’t look like a good speedrunning game. Under the surface is a game with routes to memorize, perfect movement options (can players say wave dash?), and a delightful story to be raced through.

There are guides available for running the game and a speedrun that was featured at Power Up With Pride with commentary from the game developers. This game where players spend countless hours exploring can be completed in under two by just memorizing the best route.

9 Mirror’s Edge

Mirror's Edge Catalyst Featured
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst 

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any%

26m 39s



Speedrun Platform


Mirror’s Edge was one of the most experimental games DICE ever developed. While its 2016 follow-up wasn’t all that well-received, the original remains a speedrunning spectacle sure to wow fans for years to come.

RELATED: Fastest Speedruns of Resident Evil Games

Though the tactics aren’t particularly easy to pick up, Mirror’s Edge speedruns are truly something to behold; they just look so cool. Much like Portal, it’s possible to access every level via a stage select, and the game segments its levels with checkpoints and records a player’s total time. A game essentially built for speedrunning, Mirror’s Edge is definitely one to check out for those interested in getting into speedrunning.

8 Pokemon Red & Blue

Pokemon Red beginning scene with trainer, Gary, Oak, and starting Pokemon

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – Any% Glitchless

1h 44m 03s



Speedrun Platform


Speedrun players should not look to take on a full run of Pokemon Red and Blue. In fact, one of the fastest ways to finish these games might be more visually impressive in a “what just happened” sort of way. Tell anyone in a room that this Game Boy RPG can be beaten in under two minutes and their eyebrows will be raised to the roof.

It’s relatively easy to learn an any% run of these games as no strong Pokemon need to be caught. All players need to do is follow the available guides online and watch the game glitch so hard it makes Missing No. proud.

Cookie Clicker store and gameplay interface

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – 1 Million Cookies

6m 50s



Speedrun Platform


Cookie Clicker was one of the most searched-for games of 2013, and it is still going strong roughly a decade later. It is arguably the most popular idle game of all time, and now supports the creator developing games full-time. Cookie Clicker is a serious (cookie) business.

Therefore, the game has a lot of recognition for anyone that shows the speedrun off, but how is it impressive? Ask anyone how long it takes them to have 1 Million cookies in the game. The answer will likely be hours, if not days. An experienced speedrunner can do it in under seven minutes. There is also an active and vibrant community for running the game with a special calculator for designing routes to try and find ways to cut down on times.

6 The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth

The Binding Of Isaac Rebirth

Current Fastest Speedrun (In-Game Time) – 7 Char

1h 25m 50s



Speedrun Platform


The iconic rouge-lite The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is both the best and worst game to speedrun. The game can be beaten in something like four minutes, but it’s also highly dependent on random number generation, meaning that some runs can be totally ruined for a player through no fault of their own.

Rebirth allows for seeded runs, however, meaning that speedrunners can look up optimized seeds and develop their own strategies from there. While getting knocked out of world-record contention by something out of player control may be a total pain, the extremely quick runs and restart-friendly nature of the game make it perfect for a newcomer.

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