Rock’N Racing Off Road DX is a racing themed arcade game with a bird’s eye view of the track, offering multiple game modes to keep things interesting.
Let’s start by going through the game modes; you’ve got Championship, which takes you to races such as the ‘North America Cup’, including stages in Canada, Greenland, USA & Mexico. Now, the tracks don’t bear any significance to their namesake countries, nor do they appear to resemble any national race tracks, but they are still entertaining and well laid out. Now, I would say that you race against 7 AI vehicles, but that’s a lie; firstly, AI implies intelligence, which is a weak claim for these cars at the best of times, because you don’t really race 7 AI cars, you race 3, watch 2 crash into each other, one not accelerate at all and one just doing whatever the hell it wants. You do have a choice of different cars to drive, with the completion of a race unlocking the next car, but with no indication of whether selecting a different car changes the difficulty (or anything at all for that matter), we are just left guessing, though I’m pretty sure the cars are each faster than their predecessors. There’s also Time Trials, which is a somewhat standard race-against-time game mode. Finally we have Multiplayer, which allows you to race with up to 3 other players on the same console.
The design of the game is overall good. The cars themselves are designed to be simplistic in appearance but they look alright, with the developers clearly stepping on the right side of the line between simplistic and lazy. The audio is clear and well-balanced, though with only engine noises and about 5 lines of speech for the announcer, it’s hard to screw up the in-game audio. On the other hand, I found the game music to be incredibly irritating, to the point where I would find myself muting the game between races. Thankfully this is only noticeable during menus, so the races themselves are devoid of the same levels of annoyance and distraction, letting you concentrate on the race.
Another element of the game is the physics used. It’s rare I’ll see an arcade racing game that includes game physics so detailed as to allow me to do a hand brake turn. The problem is that the game physics are quite light, they allow even the slightest hit to send you spinning, which is a direct contrast to the game’s steering, which can be incredibly slow at times, hence the need for the above mentioned hand brake turn. Combine all these characteristics and you end up with a game in which you drive a small car with the turning circle of a bus, leaving you only option of making some corners trying to pull off a braking turn without spinning out.
Another important point to consider is the cost, which is a little over £6, and is available on the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 and the Wii U. Now, I personally have a long-standing policy that any game that costs less than £10 only has to be playable to be reasonable value for money, except if it’s so crap it induces psychotic rage. Luckily, this game surpasses that requirement for playability; in fact, for something that costs less than £7, this is great value for money. It could be priced a little higher and I’d still say that. It actually is a game that is quick to complete, but it’s good for a laugh if you want a quick race.
I’m sad to say I’ve not played many arcade racing games recently, at least not since my time on the PlayStation 2. So while I am aware there are other games in the Rock’N Racing series, as well as other similar games, it obviously won’t hold a candle to nostalgia, which may have been it’s best-selling point, and it’s far from fair for me to pit this against the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo, for obvious reasons. That being said, this game is very cheap and fun enough that I probably will look into the other games in the series.
Overall, it’s a good game for the price. It did make me smile at some points and swear at others, but on balance it would hardly be a mistake or a waste to get this game. Some customisation options and a more defined difficulty setting could have really made this game into something special, something that could have been a very popular game, but it’s not bad at all. The good thing about this game is that, though it may have missed the mark on one or two minor points, it has succeeded where most games at the moment seem to be failing; it’s managed to be something just a little bit different.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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