Tagged: racing

Now Playing: Gotcha Racing (Nintendo 3DS)

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You know me, always happy to fawn over a little release that looks to have some quirk. That’s definitely Gotcha Racing, a game I’ve had my eye on since its quiet debut at E3. It released yesterday on the 3DS eShop for $5.99 and I grabbed it as soon as I got home from work last night. It’s called Gotcha Racing because it’s all about winning new car parts through a gashapon system. But as I would play, put it down and come back minutes later for “just one more race” I felt like the title had another meaning. After my first hour with the game I wouldn’t call it captivating but it definitely scratches that compulsive itch for progress.

Of course, I wasn’t drawn to a game because it has random loot drops from capsule toys. Gotcha Racing makes a fairly striking first impression when you see it in motion with a strict top-down perspective that spans both screens of the 3DS. The view keeps your car perfectly aligned in the center of the bottom screen, feeling a little like a sewing machine where you’re rotating the world underneath your car. It’s a peculiar sensation at first and a peculiar design choice as the game leans towards realism with its vehicle performance. Each chassis, engine and tire has an impact on acceleration, top speed, brake power, cornering and drift.

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I don’t know if it’s the perspective or the precision of the A.I. racers but I’ve never fought this hard to find the perfect racing line in any other game. Moving up a position is a battle over inches in the early game and if you can cut just a tiny bit more into a corner you’ll secure your spot in the pack. It’s turned out to be way more harrowing than I expected from what looked like a cutesy toy race car game. Grinding out parts from the capsule machine and then combining them to boost stats also seems harrowing. It’s been fun tinkering in the first hour but I can see this process getting elaborate and annoying as you can’t upgrade or sell items equipped to your four loadout slots. This results in temporarily swapping each loadout item to an inferior one, backing out, fusing the items, then going back to each car and re-equipping the new gear. Elaborate!

Gotcha Racing seems like a game I’ll pop in and out of for short bursts or maybe while listening to podcasts. I’m not yet able to move out of the initial F-Grade class because I don’t have a good enough car to win the final tournament. That means re-racing the first three courses over and over until I can win or upgrade my way out. It may not sound like fun but it’s enjoyable to play and fast to load, and there’s always a chance for that Rare Drop to fall out of the machine and make everything instantly better.

I’ll be back with an update once I hit the next noteworthy milestone with the game.

[Gotcha Racing is developed by Arc System Works and published by Natsume. It was released on the Nintendo eShop August 27th, 2015 for the Nintendo 3DS.]

Natsume confirms Gotcha Racing for 3DS is out August 27th

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I dug the 3DS out of its tomb at the bottom of a plastic bin just the other day to see if I’d missed the release of Gotcha Racing. Since I first saw it at E3 there’s just been a special somethin-somethin about the top-down, cross-screen racing game that’s captured my interest. It turns out I didn’t totally flake out and miss it because just today Natsume has confirmed it’ll be out on the 3DS eShop on August 27th. Yay!

Unfortunately, they still haven’t released any more direct feed footage and not even new screenshots so the impact of the game may be lost with just these two images. Nevertheless, I’m planning on picking this up on the 27th so look for some kind of recap in the coming weeks. If you’d like to know more about the game, click on in. I’ll just leave Natsume’s whole press release here since I’m too exhausted at the moment to edit it down. (more…)

Windows App Store is still a wretched hive of scum and villainy

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There’s been a tiny flurry of stuff happening with Windows 8 lately and that always leads me back to the ex-Metro, tiled start screen and eventually deep into the Windows Store. I found this gem among the Flappy Bird clones and recipe apps and had to share it based on the name alone.

Real Speed: Need for Asphalt Race – Shift to Underground CSR Addiction 14

It’s like some kind of sentient SEO robot spewed out a game title and it looks about like what you’d expect. It wants to be Gameloft’s Asphalt or EA’s Real Racing but from the sound of the reviews it’s barely controllable and filled with in-app purchases. It also allegedly has no desktop support so I’m not even going to try; the title alone is more than enough for me.

I’d rather have more places to do stuff than more vehicles to do less stuff in

830 cars. 45 tracks. Not the ratio I personally enjoy.

So here I am playing the Split/Second demo — which is another post in itself — and after finally finishing in First Place I get the teaser video and splash screen with all the exciting features. I forget how many it was exactly but my point is that I was really excited to see such a big number until I realized it was for the car count and not the number of tracks.

I am not the tuner type who loves the prospect of getting his hands on an increasing garage full of wildly different vehicles; all I want are more places to drive the car I’ve got. Give me three (maybe even ten) different vehicles and use every spare byte of space to cram in more courses, more shortcuts, more trackside details because — for my money — I’d rather have more places to do stuff than more vehicles to do less stuff in.

And yes, I realize that’s the whole point of Gran Turismo (and that’s why I hate it), I just couldn’t find a better image of so many cars from a single game than the one above. Opinion: Expressed.

Done Playing: Wipeout HD

Just to get this immediately out of the way, I have to make a confession. I’ve never owned a Wipeout game. Ever. Not even Wipeout XL. I’ve never really played one before for that matter. I’ve spent maybe 10 total minutes of my life playing the Wipeout games. It’s not that I disliked them; they’ve always been on my radar. I just never got around to playing them. That said, I have played one extensively now, and I love it.

Wipeout HD was released on PSN for the PS3 at $20. Ostensibly, it’s just a high resolution update of the recent PSP games, featuring songs, race tracks, and ships cherry picked from those games. The final product is much greater than the sum of those parts. First and foremost are the graphics. They are miles away from the previous Wipeout games. The ships are very detailed and are very well designed, but the real star of the show are the tracks themselves. The “HD” part of the title is immediately evident as soon as you set eyes upon the surface of the tracks. The textures are incredibly detailed, especially when the light hits the road surface just right. It’s incredible to look at, especially given that the game runs at a steady 60 frames per second.

The graphics are amazing, but what is a Wipeout game without a good soundtrack? Fortunately this one doesn’t disappoint, but it’s not as good as some of the past games. There are only two notable tracks in the game, the best of which is by Kraftwerk. Many of the game’s songs won’t stay in your mind for long, but the game does allow custom soundtracks. The way the game handles custom songs is one of the most impressive things about the whole package. The game regularly augments your music as you play. Go through a tunnel, you’ll notice that the music echoes. Get airborne, you’ll notice that the bass momentarily drops out. Get low on health, you’ll hear the music start to mute, as though it were far away, which only adds to your sense of urgency to get your ship repaired. No matter what music you choose to listen to, it’ll seem as though it was customized specifically for Wipeout HD.

Graphics and audio alone aren’t enough to warrant $20 for a game though. Is it fun to play? For me, it definitely is. The Wipeout games are known for their track based, low gravity, aerial racing. Stray too far to the side and you’ll scrape the retaining wall, slowing you down (nearly to a stop at times). Hit a boost at the wrong time, and you’ll fly right off the track. It can be frustrating at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to it. For first time Wipeout players, there is an option included that acts as a sort of training wheels. Get too close to a wall, the game will nudge you back to the track. It’s a decent aide, but the game feels better once you’re able to fly with it disabled.

For $20, Wipeout HD is nearly a steal. It’s not as long as the disc based Wipeouts, but it doesn’t have to be for that price. There’s a decent number of race tracks, all of which have a “backwards” configuration which often feels like an entirely different track. There’s a good number of gameplay modes, including single races, tournaments, time trials, and the seizure inducing “Zone” mode. There’s even 8 player online racing thrown in for good measure, which worked flawlessly when I tested it. All in all, Wipeout HD is the best game I’ve downloaded all year. I may like it a lot since the series is practically new to me, but I imagine long time Wipeout fans will be thrilled with it all the same. It’s hard not to like a game when it looks this good.