When was the last time we saw a good top-down racer, or even one at all? This sub-genre, often regarded as, essentially, dead, was popular back in the days when Micro Machines was king, and with the most recent one being Toybox Turbos, having been released back in 2014, the demand for such a title isn’t exactly high. It’s also a departure from the ‘usual’ games that VooFoo Studios, a developer who has released titles such Hustle Kings, Pure Pool, and the like. So, being a departure from both what is considered popular at the moment, and from what they know and/or are comfortable with, what can we expect from such a release?
Maybe not-so surprisingly, the answer isn’t all that clear. The core mechanics of the game are solid enough, featuring simple but superb driving mechanics that feel responsive and tight, but the game has little else to go on. What truly stops it from reaching that “party game” feeling that so many before it have easily induced is, unfortunately, the lack of variety from game to game. Whilst it’s certainly not mandatory that top-down racers include weapons, it’s what we’ve come to expect, and that lack of chaos makes what is otherwise a great game into just a good one. Whilst nothing particular states that this is indeed a game for parties, it is, once again, what we have come to expect from this genre.
Not needing to focus on that particular vibe, then, opens itself up in other was. A simple, yet robust experience system lies within the surprisingly lengthy campaign, and said XP points allow you to unlock more vehicles for you to take for a spin, as well as dish out upgrades to your collection as you see fit. Not being given an order of what upgrades to apply also enables the player to tailor their vehicle of choice to their particular wants and needs. Unable to take a corner as fast as you would like to? You can change that, or at least help yourself in making your handling not quite so loose.
It’s just as well that the cars are interesting to look at, and the game play, in all it’s physic-heavy, gloriously simple wonder, is enjoyable, because the locations in which you find yourself most certainly aren’t. Having only included two locations, being an uninspired dusty wasteland, and an equally lackluster cityscape, you’ll soon find yourself getting bored much faster than you would have anticipated. Granted, each location houses multiple different tracks within them, but they all start to blend in to one eventually. When the driving feels as tight as it is, it’s certainly a shame that not everything else is equally spectacular once you take your eyes of the road. That all being said, the locations don’t detract from the actual game play experience, and once you start throwing the weighty vehicles around corners, you’ll soon forget all about the copy-paste nature of buildings, lamp posts, and the like. Hours upon hours of fun are to be had with this title, but the longevity of it truly depends on VooFoo’s support of this, potentially, incredible game.