Posts Tagged ‘Mario Kart’

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The Rargh Corner – When Reviewers miss the point.

March 1, 2010

At times this entry may appear hypocritical, I personally attempt to analyse games and am probably guilty of such a sin twenty times over myself but I really do hate it when reviewers fail to understand a game, and it’s happening more frequently as the months roll on with the most recently casualty being Sonic and SEGA All stars Racing.

Released the same week as Playstation ‘It’s not a game’ game Heavy Rain it’s quite easy to see why the coverage of this brilliant little kart racer has been lost under the torrent of praise for Sony’s choose your own adventure and shake the controller to dry your arse movie thing that many people, many reviewers, are seemingly giving Sonic Kart two hours of play then whacking an average marker on it, writing five hundred words about how it’s ‘like Mario Kart, but not as good’ and calling it a day.

Give the game to a player for a couple of hours and I guarantee a fairer appraisal than most of the collections of words masquerading on the Internet as a review, I’ve seen a lot of people saying its better than the plumber and chums recent racing offering, preferring the lack of blue shells and pixel perfect drifting, in fact I’d say the weaker weapons and focus on cutting corners reminds me of the oft favorably remembered Diddy Kong Racing, and the slew of offline modes makes for a more complete split screen experience than the abysmal team battle abomination Nintendo ‘added’ to Mario Kart Wii.

Yes, 'Why is Sonic in a car', we all know the joke, just play the game.

It’s a shame that Sumo Digital’s brilliant foray into karting doesn’t offer quite as complete an experience in the online department, only allowing races and ignoring the multitude of additional mode it offers people with flesh and blood competition, as if the extra modes were available online I would go out on a limb and say Sonic and SEGA All Stars Racing would be an essential purchase for anyone who regularly plays games online, instead I have to say it’s a brilliant Kart racer that is more than deserving of the attention of anyone who got tired of taking Blue Shells up the arse for being too good at Mario Kart, and the reviewers who say any different can shove their apparently revolutionary games up their pompous metaphors, I’m going to have some old fashioned fun with my apparently mediocre Mario Kart knock off.

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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.

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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.