by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
A Casual Racer
So, for the first time since my Super Toy Cars review I've had another racing game aimed at the younger sort dropped on my lap. Obliteracers - a game that reminds me of a cross between the old classic RC Pro Am and every installment of Mario Kart - sports a single player mode and multiplayer capabilities of up to 16 players in both online and local states.
Chaos On The Track
Obliteracers is less about racing and more about obliterating the competition. Which explains the name, certainly. The single-player seems somewhere between a tutorial and an afterthought. You're being taught the ins and outs for the first few races, but it feels like the 'tutorial' aspect never really stops as you press onward from track to track.
During the single-player, you're introduced to the four different race modes: Endurance, Survival, Knockout and Leader.
Endurance and Knockout are similar in nature, being that they are both based purely around the usual deathmatch aspect. However, in Endurance the respawns are instantaneous while in Knockout the racers only reset after there is a last-man-standing each round. Of the two, I prefer Endurance far more simply because it keeps the frantic flow of the match going rather than dividing it up with a bit of downtime to count down and begin the next segment of the race.
The Survival mode is self explanatory, with the goal being to survive each round with the highest total points at the end. The Leader is perhaps the most unique mode of the bunch, with a deathmatch focus but the leader of the pack is who actually receives the points. With bots it's less intense, but in a multiplayer match you instantly have all guns aiming for you if you climb to the first place. Think of the horror of the Blue Turtle Shell from Mario, but then amplify that by everyone saving their attacks just for you.
As previously mentioned, the single player campaign really isn't much more than what feels like an elongated tutorial. The meat of the game lies in the local multiplayer and boy is it meaty.
Obliterace Your Friends
Finding the online mode to be completely dead, I turned to local multiplayer. Which I must say, is rather amazingly executed. Coaxing my friends over with the promise of free food, I convinced them to sit down with me and help me test the game out; a few hours later we were still laughing and having a blast as the three of us were trying to obliterate each other as well as the bots we were racing with. What I have to comment on specifically is how the controller-crisis is handled. More often than not, as far as PC goes, it's limited to 2 player local co-op before forcing the LAN and multiple computers.
With Obliteracers, you can play with up to 15 other friends all from one computer. In the case of my friends and I, one played with the keyboard while the other two played with controllers. But what happens when you run out of USB ports? Well, you can turn to your smartphone, tablet or laptop as controllers as well. While perhaps a bit niche to use anything other than the keyboard or controller, it's a great addition if you ever happen to have 16 people in one place at once who just happen to want to play a racing game. While we didn't get the chance to test it with a laptop used as a controller, we did test out how it handles with a phone and tablet as well; and the answer is: very well.
Local multiplayer often takes the back seat to everything else these days, and when it does come around it's usually a bit lackluster to say the least, so it's very refreshing to not only see it well done, but so ambitious as to offer it to up to so many players at once.
Obliteracers is meant to be played with friends, and it's meant to be played from the comfort of home. If you're looking for a single player or online experience, you're not going to find much of it there. But if you're looking for something perfect for a gathering of friends, maybe even something to inspire a few drinking games, Obliteracers is a great option to look to.
Entertaining combat/racing experience, very well done local-multiplayer, impressive amount of players on one device
Single-player offers little more than learning the ropes, Online community severely lacking