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Zero Gear Review

January 14, 2010

Nimblebit have also done: Nothing, this is their first game!

It’s unfair to label Zero Gear as an attempt to give PC gamers a Mario Kart (as may be the first reaction from many people) because it has not got much in common with Nintendo’s drift happy, uber weapon friendship destroyer and compares more favorably to the once legendary Micro Machines games.

The game is a very straight forward racer, with wide accommodating tracks and very sticky handling, there is a hop button for angular turns but no corners require any great deal of control dexterity to traverse meaning pretty much anyone can stay on track and enjoy themselves.

And yes it’s got weapons but they demand more skill to use and cause less problems when they strike, and whilst it’s possible to be spun around the game does all that it can to bring you back into the race without causing the player in first an aneurysm.

All racers also earn boost that can be deployed with the shift key, this all-important nitro can be gained by spinning in the air, racing right behind someone, and through clearing checkpoints. It’s these checkpoints that show a spark of genius as your relative position to the race leader dictates how much boost you gain, meaning a player lagging a couple of seconds behind will be drowning in the stuff whilst only a trickle will be gifted to the race leader, keeping the proceedings tight and entertaining for everyone without anyone contracting Blue Shell shock.

The game also has a fun sense of its physics; the chunky karts bounce around with a sponge like tenacity that ensures to raise a smile on anyone’s race, especially when racing as a maustacioued, monocle-wearing turtle. It’s actually a shame that this sense of fun doesn’t come across as you race on account of the turgid handling that feels odd against the fun physics.

It's got a kind of cutesy Trackmania look to some of it.

But this brings us to the way Zero Gear manages to notch things up, the sporting events. Were it simply racing I’d end here with a ‘it’s alright, if you have the money lighting a fire in your pocket then go for it’ but the sports are highly entertaining. There’s football, Hockey, Tag, and a form of darts to name a few but once the silly racers get off tracks and start bouncing around in the sports the sense of fun shines through, and really makes the game easy to recommend. They’re hard to play yes, but that sense of anarchy adds to the humour they induce, great party like gaming.

It’s a shame the tracks aren’t that challenging or have a miniature golf style sense of fun but as a half way house between Micro Machines and Mario Kart, with some flashes of originality, Zero Gear is an entertaining enough racer/party game that is great fun with friends and should be a fun wind down after another failed attempt at Left 4 Dead 2’s Hard Rain on Expert. The achievements should raise a wry smile as well.

7

For your Consideration: Zero Gear is a PC game, and there are methods of creating custom tracks, ergo I could find my complaints about nothing too taxing remedied pretty soon.

*Note* Zero Gear is free to try this weekend on Steam (14/1/10 – 17/10/10) so load it up and check it out.

It’s unfair to label Zero Gear as an attempt to give PC gamers a Mario Kart (as may be the first reaction from many people) because it has not got much in common with Nintendo’s drift happy, uber weapon, friendship destroyer and compares more favorably to the once legendary Micro Machines games.

The game is a very straight forward racer, with wide accommodating tracks and very sticky handling, there is a hop button for angular turns but no corners require any great deal of control dexterity to traverse meaning pretty much anyone can stay on track and enjoy themselves.

And yes it’s got weapons but they demand more skill to use and cause less problems when they strike and whilst it’s possible to be spun around the game does all that it can to bring you back into the race without causing the player in first an aneurysm.

All races also earn boost that can be deployed with the shift key, this all-important nitro can be gained by spinning in the air, racing right behind someone, and through clearing the checkpoints. It’s these checkpoints that show a spark of genius as your relative position to the current leader dictates how much boost you gain, meaning a player lagging a couple of seconds behind will be drowning in the stuff whilst only a trickle will be gifted to the race leader, keeping the proceedings tight and entertaining for everyone without anyone contracting Blue Shell syndrome.

The game also has a fun sense of its physics; the chunky karts bounce around with a sponge like tenacity that ensures to raise a smile on anyone’s race, especially when racing as a maustacioued, monocle-wearing turtle. It’s actually a shame that this sense of fun doesn’t come across as you race on account of the turgid handling that feels odd against the fun physics.

But this brings us to the way Zero Gear manages to notch things up, the sporting events. Were it simply racing I’d end here with a ‘it’s alright, if you have the money lighting a fire in your pocket then go for it’ but the sports are highly entertaining. There’s football, Hockey, Tag, and a form of darts to name a few but once the silly racers get off tracks and start bouncing around in the sports the sense of fun shines through, and really makes the game easy to recommend. They’re hard to play yes, but that sense of anarchy adds to the humour they induce, great party like gaming.

It’s a shame the tracks aren’t that tight or really have a sense of fun but as a half way house between Micro Machines and Mario Kart, with some flashes of originality, Zero Gear is an entertaining enough racer that is great fun with friends.

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