Who thought driving would be this hard? The year is 199X and the time has come to enter into the daring “INFINITRACK GP!”. The only issue is you are headed completely the wrong way. Seriously with all other racers aiming towards your direction you must navigate through all obstacles to ultimately become the Hot Rod Racing Champion. Inspired by great racing games like F-Zero, Hot Rod Racer has a lot of work to do if it has any hope of finishing in pole position.
Starting with the control layout we have the control stick and toggle stick to guide our vehicle around the course, veering past any hurdle with other drivers, oil barrels and water your most common hinderances. You then have B to break and A to fire rockets at enemies. Though straight forward the controls don’t feel intuitive with the Game-Pad and frankly feel much more suited to a mobile. On multiple occurrences I would clearly avoid oncoming traffic, yet because I was a millimetre away I would still end up crashing…and when I say crashing I mean exploding. Yes whichever of these obstacles you run into regardless of speed you will inevitably explode. Its quite humorous actually especially when its something like a cacti. Dealing with this and your fuel levels are really your only concerns with the focus aim of travelling the furthest distance becoming old really fast. This is completely ironic because speed never really feels applicable.
Then we have the art-style which feels bland and unimaginative. I realise graphics are not everything and gameplay is key but when you have such a basic design you feel like you’ve stepped back in time (And not in a good way). From the vehicles to the overall landscape, Whether grass, desert or water nothing pops at you with excitement. This is a console not a mobile where anything is accepted. When releasing on a system like Nintendo, Playstation or Xbox our tolerance is not as high for something so rudimentary so you should expect backlash.
The only customisation available is changing the color of your car. That’s it. No way to affect steering or improve the brakes. You do unlock upgrades that allow for bigger fuel consumption or increased firing rate, yet they all feel bare-minimum additions that add little to this already little package. There is a motorbike to be obtained by leveling up nevertheless there is nothing here that makes you want to progress further.
Surprisingly two things in particular kept me playing Hot Rod Racer for a slightly longer duration. The first being the rankings board where your best distance covered is uploading for you to see your worldwide position. A neat touch because the lack of players meant I was already 43rd in the world without putting in any real time. The competitive side in me could not resist trying to climb higher. Still after a few more attempts I quickly gave up due to the unappealing gameplay,
The other and truly the only positive I can really give is to the “Wacky Racer” style music that really helped with keeping momentum whilst racing. The variations every time you started made a big difference helping to keep things fresh. So I would like to congratulate Cameron Perry on his musical contribution, for such a low budget title, the music on offer was a step above everything else.
Hot Rod Racer is a substandard attempt of a racing game. Inspired by F-Zero in some bizarre way, nothing here tells me that the developers “ZeNfA Productions” have ever touched the series. The lack of speed, personalties and genuine quality are all absent with only the music warranting praise. Possibly more acceptable on a mobile device, Hot Rod Racer does not deserve its place on console as it skids off the track to crash and burn.
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