Cartoony cart racers are not a new type of game by any means. Sure there’s not a lot of good ones, but a lot of the ones that are good seem to all be very similar. Luckily for those that like cart racers, Obliteracers looks to change that. Sporting a rather familar look and fun soundtrack, this bright game is sure to confuse players that expect to play a Mario Kart rip-off. The twist with Obliteracers is the goal of the racers. In other games, players are tasked with being the fastest and winning the race by passing the finish line first (sometimes by any means necessary). This is not the case in Obliteracers. Instead, players will be asked to defeat other racers in 1 of 4 different game modes.
Players will find themselves using 1 of the 16 characters (4 variations on 4 character types) coupled with 1 (at a time) of the 8 weapons to defeat racers on 1 of the 12 maps (some of these maps are variations on other maps). It may seem like there is a lot of content here but with the matches (mostly) going by very quickly, players (like me) may feel like they’re seeing the same stuff all the time. There are a couple of things that help this content stretch out, such as being able to drive the various tracks either forward or backward and varying game sizes from 2 racers to 16 (8 local players) that will all be on the screen at the same time. While these massive games can be fun, they also become hectic quite quickly. Unfortunately, this hecticness isn’t always a good thing and was often the cause of my own frustration. If it isn’t clear by the sheer number of racers, the more racers there are, the less control players will have over any bit of the race.
This loss of control is partly due to how simple the game is to actually play. There are some more ‘advanced’ techniques such as pulling a 180 and driving backward to fire weapons at enemies behind you and using the shield to it’s maximum efficiency. These techniques can be rather hard to do at times and attempting them may hurt players more than help them. The shield I mentioned is also a really interesting addtition to the various things players can do while racing. It has 2 positives and a 2 negatives.
First, it can be used to block incoming projectiles, nullifying their damage. Second, racers can keep their shield up while they drive over power ups to heal themselves instead of receiving the power up. These two uses can be used as much as desired throughout the races (unless a modifier says otherwise) and often make the difference between winning and losing. As for the 2 negatives, we’ll start with the fact that racers will drop any power up they had before activating their shield, meaning you can’t attack and defend unless you pick up another power up. Besides that, racers also can’t accelerate or reliably turn while their shields are active. This means if you are approaching a sharp turn and have a projectile homing in from behind, you will have to decide if using your shield will still allow you to make the turn. All in all, the shields create a wonderful risk/reward mechanic that I personally really enjoy.
Obliteracers is clearly created as a crazy cart racer meant for parties. To fully nail this point home, there are modifiers that can change several different aspects of the races played in multiplayer. There are a large list of different modifiers all with unique effects. In fact, some of these modifiers are specifically designed to help beginners keep up with the more experienced racers. Using this and the option to only show racer numbers over players heads helps to let everyone at a get together pick up a controller and play with relative ease.
Besides multiplayer, there is still a career that is fairly fleshed out. This single player mode includes 24 levels of varying difficulties and various objectives. The mode has players compete against other racers in 1 of the 4 game modes, trying to place 1st, 2nd, or at least 3rd to gain between 1 and 3 ‘bombs’. These bombs are a rating to show players’ ending place and are added up to unlock harder career levels. Besides a clear difficulty spike near halfway through, the career mode is a lot of fun and will last a few hours at least.
I was informed that I should mention that this game is still a beta, even though there is no sign of that anywhere in the game or it’s Xbox Store entry. I think the game is fine as is, but some tweaks to how ridiculous it can get would be appreciated. With or without, the game does a great job of being a fun game to play with friends as is.
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