Taking a page (and only a single page) out of Twisted Metal’s book, Gas Guzzlers Extreme seems to want to make weaponized racing games even more ridiculous than they already are. Strapping guns to a car and using them to destroy other racers has always been a fairly odd concept, seeing as most times it makes little to no sense. Twisted Metal tried to make sense of it, building an entire world in which a tournament held where drivers of these kinds of cars would compete for an ultimate prize. This was just part of what made the world so dark and messed up. Gaz Guzzlers takes a different route by explaining that there is a tournament, but instead of doom and gloom, players are met with immature jokes and silliness.
When first booting up the game, one might think the game is just going to be like any old racing game with various cars and stages. This thought is quickly put to rest once the campaign has been started. The very first race of the game will have players driving a car sponsored from none other than Buttwasser, the maker of ‘your’ favorite beer. This kind of crude and immature humor makes up a large portion of the game, but I actually found it quite endearing. Whether it was when I found out you can change your driver’s voice so he sounds like parody versions of various people or when I read all the names of the other racers (Otto Mobile and Luke Likesheet come to mind). Even if the humor isn’t for you, the actual gameplay is fun enough to keep most racing fans’ attention.
It might not be clear from the outset, but there are actually a lot of things going on while driving around in any of the game’s races. For starters, there are pick ups scattered across the racetrack that include various secondary weapons, passive power ups, boost, and health. All of these are easy to use and explain themselves fairly quickly. With boost being tied to the A button, players can shoot forward with X, shoot backward with B, and use their secondary weapons with Y. This sort of simply control scheme makes the game a blast to play as all the ‘driving’ buttons are on the bumpers and triggers while all the weapons and boosts are on the face buttons.
With that said, while the game is fun and usually funny, the game seems to go out of its way to be obnoxious. Whether it’s the loading screen between the main screen and the campaign screen or the seemingly impossible challenges, I kept finding myself just asking “Why?” an awful lot. The load times aren’t all that long, but they feel longer since the game is an indie game and not a triple-A title with the most top-notch graphics possible. The challenges are a different beast all together, asking players to destroy other drivers in specific ways while driving the dinkiest of cars (since the campaign just started). I personally stopped trying for these challenges at all and just focused on coming in first. By doing this I ensured I won enough races to get a sponsor, which offered little side challenges that didn’t feel worth it since I didn’t really need the money. If the campaign isn’t offering the game modes a player wants, they can choose to try the Quick Race game mode.
This mode allows players to choose which type of race they’d like to play and lets them play with no strings attached. Even though there are various modes, the initial three don’t differ enough to stay fun for long and leads players looking for more. Other modes are unlocked as players make progress in the campaign, meaning players don’t have much choice but to blast out a bunch of the campaign before attempting to just play for fun and not progress. This is made especially difficult when players notice there is absolutely no multiplayer in the Xbox version of the game. No matter what mode players choose, destroying AI controlled cars is only fun for so long.
The lack of multiplayer is the biggest downside to this game as there are several situations where having a friend to play with would make the game so much better. Whether shooting at your friends is your thing or shooting zombies is more your style (you’ll have to find out for yourself), Gas Guzzlers Extreme could have made a wonderful addition to the Xbox One’s already impressive list of multiplayer games. With a few performance upgrades, some game mode tweaks, and the addition of multiplayer, this game could be really good. But until then, the game will simply be an alright title with a truly goofy sense of humor.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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