by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
Top down arcade racers are not that uncommon, but here to add to the pile is Bang Bang Racing, a game co-developed by Playbox and Digital Reality. The game was first released as Bang Bang Racing THD for Android-based devices in 2011, but has now made its way to PC, PS3 and X360.
The gameplay is functional, with the only controls being acceleration, braking, steering and nitro, so it’s not hard to pick up. Getting good at it doesn’t take too long either, especially if you’ve played this style of game before. The main mechanics involve avoiding obstacles designed to slow you down, such as oil slicks and exploding barrels, and using your nitro boost effectively. Next to the start/finish line there is your standard pit area which you can drive through to regenerate health and refill your nitro meter. Durability was rarely an issue though, and the pit lane slows you down enough to make any nitro boost you do get back irrelevant as you will have to use it all to make up the time you lost, so I barely used that area. As you play, you unlock new cars, paint jobs and tracks to use in the Free Play mode, but the main section of the game is in the career mode.
The main campaign is split up into different categories depending on which type of car can be used in each. The four classes are: N-dura, Evo GT, Protech and Apex, which as far as I could tell each contained the same five cars with different skins on them. The five cars didn’t have stats attached so they could be compared easily, but instead had a very small scrolling marquee at the bottom of the screen telling the player what the car was best at. The different types of car have strengths in one of the following attributes: durability, acceleration, agility, speed and nitro. The differences seemed minimal at best, and I quickly accustomed to just using the agile car the most as the other attributes didn’t seem to matter all that much. I never came across a time when I particularly needed to enter the pit lane to repair my car, so durability was never an issue, I was more concerned with being able to take corners more effectively.
The AI is not really clever enough to stop you getting past them, or indeed to be able to get past you if you simply drive in front of them. In fact if you swerve in front of them while they are boosting, you will get a handy bump forwards and they will more often than not swerve into a wall. The game would almost be trivially simple since it is so easy to outsmart the other drivers, if it weren’t for the rubber banding, the term used for when cars will catch up with you if you get too far ahead, or slow down if you fall too far behind.
Some nice visual touches. Requires a degree of intricacy at times.
Brings nothing new to the genre. No lasting appeal.