Racedrome Offroad [Review]

Jessica Weimar
Contributor
 
May 1st, 2012

Racing games have sunk into a trend of being a dime a dozen, especially on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. That being said, a game of that nature has to stand out among the bunch in order to be worth playing. Racedrome Offroad, an indie kart racing title by developer Rendercore Games, only stands out in the wrong ways.

Racedrome Offroad is an extremely simple kart racing game that uses a player’s Xbox Live avatar as the racer. A racing game doesn’t get much more simple than this. There are no unlockable cars, just the generic racing kart. Cars are not customizable beyond simply picking the color. The only other options to choose from in kart setup are whether or not the handbrake is on auto, turn sensitivity, and toggling the rumble feature.

The single player portions of the game include a quick race against the computer, a time trial mode, and the arcade mode. The arcade mode would be the equivalent to a campaign, allowing players to unlock tracks in the game so they can be raced on in other modes. There are ten tracks to unlock, and they all look almost the same. Oh wait, the track layouts are slightly different, and the track’s blocks on either side are different colors. Big deal. There’s no different weather, day and night cycle, or different road conditions to drive in; everything is basically in a giant arena that looks generic.

 So the game is boring looking, but how does it play? It plays like a kart racing game, but on the moon. So the karts move a lot slower and gravity is all over the place. Racing around the track is less racing and more akin to the speeds at which you would drive to work in morning traffic. This is especially true if the handbrake is toggled on auto, which will automatically slow the kart down when approaching any turn. Since these tracks are mainly curves, the auto handbrake feature will just piss you off by making everything seem like it is slowing down even more.

The tracks are chock full of hills and jumps, which would be great if hitting one wouldn’t send you flying. Trying to go fast and hit a jump will end with the vehicle careening off the track and being beamed back to the place where it left off. None of the gravity and slowness problems will affect your competitiveness though, because the AI in this game is still going to fail to you anyway. Even on the hardest difficulty, it was incredible easy to beat the computer’s karts after I mastered the controls.

There is multiplayer in Racedrome Offroad, but the only one that counts is the local multiplayer. Trying to join an online race will be fruitless, no matter when and how many times you try. I feel like I’d still be bored playing it side by side with a friend though. The slow paced nature of the game almost put me to sleep and nothing about this game is particularly memorable. I feel like the low difficulty level of the game in general would be more suited to a younger audience, but they’d probably want to play Mario Kart. If you have 80 Microsoft Points (and no Nintendo system) you could give this a try. I would suggest trying the demo first, though.

 

[Images via Xbox.com]

Racedrome Offroad
Rendercore Games
Score
2.1\5
Visuals
2.5
There's nothing terrible looking about this game really. It's just boring looking. There's no change between tracks other than where the curves are. Where's the weather and different terrains? There are no rough looking textures in this game though, and it runs smoothly most of the time.
Sound
2
The sound in this game is as memorable as the graphics are; cheesy 80's metal, played over and over and over. I wish I could say for certain that it changed from race to race, but there's only so many ways you can rehash those kind of guitar riffs.
Controls
3
The controls are loose and frustrating. They are simple to use, but without the auto handbrake on, racing can be ten times more anger inducing. If you leave that feature on though, your kart will move only slightly over a normal real life speed limit. It looks like you can't really win here.
Game Play
2
This game is bare bones, basic kart racing. The lack of a real multiplayer mode besides local play holds it back from at least being amusing while playing intoxicated. The slow, sluggish racing is better suited for a younger audience.
Fun
1
Lack of multiplayer and customizable karts brings this game down, and the forgettable visuals aren't helping either. When a game almost puts you to sleep and it isn't a puzzle game, it's not a good sign.

META

Jessica is clearly a fan of video games, or she wouldn't be writing for this site. She attends college and like most other staff on the site, has a day job that she despises. She spends most of her free time playing games with her boyfriend.

Specialty: Survival Horror
  • Guest

    So you’re expecting weather conditions in an INDOOR arena? Like, rain falling through the roof?

    Also, have you played any other offroad games like the “MX vs ATV” series? I’d like to hear what you say about their gravity.

  • Jessica Weimar

    I wasn’t expecting indoor weather conditions, no. The name of the game does not automatically imply an indoor arena, so it isn’t like they had no option to include an outdoor arena which could include outdoor conditions. This is not a required quality of a racing game, but I can name a few simple titles like this that have that feature and it prevents each race from seeming stale. I have not played that particular game, but in playing this title I found that flying off the very jumpy track to be frustrating when combining that problem with the other problems I had.