Rally Racers – Xbox One Review
As a father, I’ve seen some pretty disgusting, nasty stuff. In one incident that I’d love to Eternal Sunshine right out of my mind, I ended up with green, slimy baby poop all over my face. In my specs, some in my mouth and nose. It’s a long, graphic story but suffice it to say, it used to be my most traumatic adult memory. Until, that is, I played Rally Racers.
My first impressions of Rally Racers were not good. Being told to ‘press LT to break’ does not a good first impression make – I’m no grammar Nazi, but finding a spelling error so quickly didn’t bode well for attention to detail.
Still, we’re here for the gameplay, and I’m willing to forgive anything in exchange for a fun racing experience. Sadly, this ain’t it. Rally Racers pitches itself, rather unassumingly, as a single player, fun, racing game. I can confirm that it is indeed single player.
Sporting the kind of low res graphics that would shame a PSP, backgrounds and courses are virtually devoid of detail and personality. Routine, uninspired tracks are mercifully brief, with longevity expanded only slightly by a mechanism which demands you perform a set amount of tricks and collect all of the available oranges scattered throughout the course. Yes, oranges. For some reason.
Character models need to be seen to be believed. They are so god-awful fugly, and not a cute Pixar type ugly – just grimace inducing, make the dog howl ugly. I’m sure my TV shuddered in protest at one point. Car models are slightly better, but we’re grading on a curve of pretty low expectation at this point, so they’re by no means pretty.
Handling, acceleration, speed and so on start off lousy, but an upgrade tree promises some slim hope that a quick grind might open up the games potential. And this is true, but only to a very limited extent. The increases are incremental, and the impact is barely noticeable. Keep grinding and it’s possible to max out your cars speed, acceleration, boost, tricks and handling – only the most dedicated will do so. The rewards just aren’t there – although everything can be achieved in game, no micro-transactions here thankfully, the lack of discernible difference means your experience doesn’t change significantly as the game progresses.
The game plays as your standard fun racer; various pick-ups are scattered throughout the tracks allowing for turbo and the like. I picked up dozens of missiles and projectiles in my time with the game and found them relatively useless. Conversely, the AI is like Annie Oakley and will periodically turn your vehicle into a block of ice which can’t be controlled. For the record, the ice blocks do not look good.
Sticking with boost, earned by performing stunts/tricks or via the track pick-ups is generally enough to earn you first place on each track, particularly once you’ve enhanced your car a little. AI interference can be reduced by recruiting racers to your team; use in game coins to buy their loyalty and they’ll still race against you, but will resist the temptation to use missiles etc. Even now, I find that a baffling design choice.
OK, time to get off the fence. This game looks and feels like a relic from 2008, and not a good one. Cartoon racers aren’t easy to do in a Mario Kart universe, but they are typically fun. Rally Racers is not. Ever. Fun. And at £19.99, there are an abundance of better options out there. Even at a lower price point it would be tough to recommend; at £19.99 you’d be crazy not to look for an alternative. Achievement hunters may find solace in the games generous and frequent pay-outs, but only the most dedicated will be happy to plod through all of the tracks and collect all of the oranges to reap all the available gamer score. The lack of multiplayer, either local or online, the dated look and feel and the basic gameplay place this one firmly in the slow lane.
Thanks to West Coast Software for the review code.
Developer: West Coast Software
Publisher: West Coast Software
Website: Rally Racers