Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bang Bang Racing Preview, Review, Compliments

Hi guys, so there's this Steam sale thing going on right now so let's take a look at the games.  Oh, what's this, a racing game called Bang Bang Racing, let's check it out!  Videos:

Right now, Bang Bang Racing costs 3.39 in United States Dollars.  Even if this game's a dud, can you really complain about paying that much?  Besides, from one "Indie" racing game dev to another, this one's for you.  Seriously, I'm in need of a new racing game and I'm not touching Ridge Racer: Unbounded with its $30 price tag.  And personally, I think I had more fun with this $3 game than I did with games worth ten times the price.  It's a "Bang" Racing Game for your buck.  *noshameinthatpun*

So a quick rundown about the game: There's twenty cars in four classes--five muscle cars, five GT cars, five Le-Mans cars, and five Indy/F1 cars--each with slightly different characteristics.  There's also eight tracks which spoof existing locations--Daytona, Laguna Seca, Long Beach, Monaco, Nurburgring, Bahrain, Spain, and some snow level.  Because of the game's cartoony style, the tracks have been greatly embellished to give you lots to look at, such as palm trees, Japanese cherry blossom trees, fake billboards, buildings of various sizes, overpasses, and numerous elevation changes.  In other words, it's a damn good looking game.

The thing that ultimately makes or breaks the game is the camera.  It's kind of like R.C. Pro Am except the camera actually attempts to face parallel with your vehicle at all times.  At first, turning left and right can be massively disorienting since it takes a while for the camera to catch up, leading you to blindly drive in some direction besides straight (think Grand Theft Auto's driving camera) but in all honestly, you get used to it after a while.  Sure, no close-chase/first-person cam sucks but you get a better view of the action happening all around you so that's good.

Now about the cars. There's nitrous boosts that charge up automatically over time and when you drive through the "pit stop" (PRO TIP: Hit the pit stop as often as possible even if you're not damaged just for the turbo boosts alone.).  While turbo boosts are a common racing gimmick, here they're used well because it can give you a tactical advantage.

There's also the ability to brake which becomes phenominally important at higher speeds.  You can't powerslide Sega-style but it's still good fun to sling the car around, plus it's not an easy game by any means so it is rewarding once you get a hang of it.  Left, right, gas, brake, turbo.  Five buttons is all you need.

There's also oil & water slicks that inhibit your ability to turn for a brief time as well as a few shortcuts too.  Fortunately, there's no Mario Kart weapons present so it rides the fine line of being goofy fun as well as a truly serious racer.

I should mention this game can be played with the keyboard or an Xbox 360 controller.  The keyboard controls are okay but still tough to use.  Once I plugged in that 360 controller, my skills doubled and I enjoyed it more.  So be sure to get a joystick before playing.  This goes for every PC racing game, obviously.

I think the game's great but there's three caveats that must be said:

1. Having "beaten" the game in about four hours, I'm still left wondering what to do besides time trials and racing the computer over and over again.  The CPU's tough on the harder difficulties without being broken cheap (no rubber-band AI) so that's great.  There's split-screen multiplayer but no online multiplayer which is a bummer.  I question the game's replay value but c'mon, it's just a $3 game.  Though some of you may get better mileage out of this game since I'm so "good" at racing games or something.  The first two tiers of cars may be too slow but the game picks up when you get those LeMans/F1 cars, pshyeah.

2. I think the game personally errs too much on being "cute."  While I don't mind driving Micro Machines around cartoony tracks, it would be great if they took a few cues out of Sega's playbook and made the racing more "intense," such as meaner engine sounds and car rumbling at top speeds.  But I don't know for sure if that would make it better...I'm not a game PRODUCER people, I'm just a lowly programmer who does what he's told.

3. Come on, enough with the dubstep, let's get some ROCK AND ROLL in this joint.  Something that really KICKS.  No really, the music in this game is ok but that definitely-not-autotuned lady says (I think) "moooonayyy" or something like that too much.

Kind of like Days of Thunder (now rendered null & void thanks to Daytona USA) and 3D Pixel Racing (didn't play it but gameplay looks similar), this is an Indie game that pops up out of nowhere and exceeds your expectations so PAY DA MAN for actually making a racing game that entertains me.  FUN FACT: There's about 30 people that worked on this game and almost all of them have an accent in their names.  In other words, this isn't a US-made game.  It hurts me to say this but as an American, Europe & Japan are leagues ahead of us in driving games, sorry.

I think the game is great and that you should buy it now.  You have until July 23 to buy it at such a low price so do it now.  Just do it...

REVIEW SCORE: 9.0 out of 10.  Also check out my friend Dave's post on this game too.  It predates my post by about a month so props to him too.

BTW, Super Sprint is still better.

EDIT: Also be sure to buy Renegade Ops off the Steam store for under $4 too!  Do it for Sega!  Or buy four copies (one for you, three for friends) for under $8!  Wow, ya gotta love Steam!!!

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