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Warhammer 40k Speed Freeks is like Rocket League with bombs

Speed Freeks’ new Konvoy mode is like American football, only the players are all cars, the goals are 50’ mechs, and the ball is a bomb.

Warhammer 40k Speed Freeks screenshot, an Ork riding in the back of a buggy prepares to lob a fire bottle at a huge walking mech

What if the Rocket League cars could blast seven shades of engine oil out of one another? Having tested the new Konvoy mode in car combat game Warhammer 40k Speed Freeks this weekend, I think we have an answer.

Warhammer 40k: Speed Freeks was announced at the Skullz showcase of licensed Warhammer 40k games in 2023. Players take on the role of madcap Ork racers, piloting one of seven unique vehicles in team deathmatches – or in the case of the new Konvoy mode, which you can  play in the current open beta, team football. Well, sort of.

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If you’re familiar with the Warhammer 40k universe, you’ll know that Orks are every bit as fun-loving as they are belligerent. Konvoy mode sees two mobs of Orks race ramshackle vehicles across a huge battlefield to reach a stockade. But rather than trying to pilot their personal jalopies across the finish line, both teams are trying to get a clanking Stompa war mech to the end of the race before their opponents can do the same.

Blowing up members of the enemy mob speeds up your mech and slows down the enemy one. But if you want to get your Stompa really stomping, you need to find one of the massive bombs that spawns periodically around the map, and drive it head first into the enemy mech. Which is, when you think about it, basically identical to scoring a touchdown in American football.

Warhammer 40k Speed Freeks, two dragsters ride head to head towards one another, one carrying a bomb

Admittedly the ball never explodes in American football, the goal doesn’t try and snare you in an anti-gravity ray before you can reach it, and Orks have never heard of anything as civilized as ‘the line of scrimmage’. But the core objective – grab the prolate spheroid, dodge blockers, deliver it to the target – is spot on.

As for comparisons to Rocket League, the vehicles in Speed Freeks have similarly cartoony physics. Most come with a boost ability with which to launch yourself off the maps’ plentiful ramps. The Kustom Boosta Blasta can even fling itself thirty feet into the air from a standing start.

Warhammer 40k Speed Freeks screenshot, an Ork riding in the back of a buggy rides into a fireball

There’s a hint of character shooter DNA in here as well, with each of the seven Ork buggies equipped for a different role. The Shokkjump Dragsta has unparalleled speed, long range firepower, and a teleport jump, on top of a weak chassis, making it great at skirmishing and grabbing the bomb but not so good at penetrating a strong defence. I played with the Rukkatrukk Squig Buggy the most, a healer that can give your team the edge in the big ruckuses that often snarl up around a bomb-carrier.

The beta build is stable but not without rough edges. The Squig Buggy’s main gun, a squig launcher, often fires automatically, and I can’t tell if the boost – which launches you in the direction of the camera, not the direction your buggy is facing – is performing as intended.

An Ork buggy races across an icy battlefield in the game Warhamemr 40k Speed Freeks

The beta is open until the end of May, and it’s well worth a try, particularly if you can get online with some friends. Coordinated mobs can crush their opponents, and the running high-speed gunfights that accompany a well-protected bomb carrier are an absolute blast to be part of.

It’s a good year for Warhammer 40k videogames: check out the news of Space Marine 2 PVP multiplayer, and the surprise announcement of Mechanicus 2, which both debuted at this year’s Skullz showcase.