by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
I wondered just how severe the rubber banding was, so I tested it out by going an entire race without using any nitro. I was not entirely surprised to find I came second, less than a second behind the winning car. I found that apart from on the Elimination game type, I could pretty much leave any nitro use until the final lap where I could just boost past anyone who happened to be in front of me. The Elimination mode is the most interesting gameplay type in the game, and a slightly different take on the normal, as here there is an ‘Elimination Period’, at the end of which the player in last place gets knocked out of the race, rather than simply having the same thing happen at the end of a lap.
Bang Bang Racing’s difficulty curve is close to non-existent. In the first two categories which contained seventeen races overall, I only ever failed to come first once. From there, the only real ramp up in difficulty was due to more obstacles littering the course, which in fact made the game more fun than challenging. The first lap would be full of explosions and cones flying everywhere, after which it would calm down to a normal race again. Some fun can be had in the local multiplayer where you and up to three friends can attempt to run each other off the road to your heart’s content, but other than that, the game has little replay value, especially as you will probably be able to get most of the gold medals on your first playthrough.
Graphics and sound
Aesthetically, the game is pleasing, although a bit bland. The cars are compacted takes on some real world models with fake names, and the tracks themselves look fairly busy without being too intrusive. The nicest touch, and the highlight of the game for me, was that if you use nitro boost whilst driving over an oil slick, you will leave a flaming tyre trail behind you. I found myself doing this on purpose just to add a bit of excitement to each race. It left me wishing that there were more interesting elements to the game, the addition of weapons or power ups would go some way to remedying that. The camera was a little frustrating too, as on tracks where there were multiple tight turns one after another, the camera would swing around all over the place, disorienting me slightly until I found the relative calm of a straight.
The sound design is similar to the visual design, it’s there, but there is little substance. The cars sound fine, and the soundtrack isn’t awful but again, it’s slightly boring, which isn’t a crucial failing, especially as licensed music would be too much to ask for a small developer. Any track which had emergency vehicles on I immediately started to hate though, as each time you pass them, the siren would go off, which, on an event with eight or more laps really began to grate.
The main question I was faced with whilst playing this game was “Why?”. Why is the crowd at each race comprised of disembodied giant heads which constantly bounce up and down? Why is there no online multiplayer? Why has the game taken so many mechanics from similar games but left the most entertaining ones out? Why can’t I switch between using a gamepad and using the mouse and keyboard without reloading the game? But the million dollar question is this: Why would anyone buy this game when there are better, more entertaining and for the most part, cheaper alternatives already out there? Bang Bang Racing is not necessarily a bad game, it’s just that on the grid of top down arcade racers, its name is quite fitting, because it is the old banger in dead last.
Some nice visual touches. Requires a degree of intricacy at times.
Brings nothing new to the genre. No lasting appeal.