Super Pixel Racers review

Super Pixel Racers is a 16-bit styled 2D racer from Korean team 21.c Ducks. They are a team known for mobile and iPad games and it showed in the presentation.

Featuring 15 tracks set in a variety of countries and weather conditions, players will take part in over 200 races. There’s a basic campaign that starts you off nice and slowly with less powerful vehicles that can be levelled up as you earn money from races. You’ll progress to increasingly faster cars that are all loosely modelled on familiar rally staples such as the Mini, Impreza and the Stratos. Others are available for purchase but you’ll be given a freebie at the start of each new tour.

The races on offer cover Rally Cross, Takedown, Drift, Time Trials and a bit of point to point Rallying. Everything bar the point to point is circuit based and can be lapped in 15-30 seconds depending on the vehicle and the upgrades.

“It’s standard stuff and doesn’t exactly set the world alight”

Rally Cross sees you battle 7 AI in multi-lap races where you earn more money the higher you place. Further races in each section unlock as you earn trophies. Takedown is basically destruction derby but you have a score to achieve within a time limit. Drift is the same but you’re expected to slide your way around the track. Time trial sees you needing to beat a fastest time over a set of laps. Rally takes on two forms – either you race other AI and whoever is in first for an indeterminate amount of time wins, or you have to cover a distance whilst hitting checkpoints that top up your time limit. All of these gameplay modes are also available in local and online multiplayer. So far, it’s standard stuff and doesn’t exactly set the world alight.

It feels a lot like Super Off-Road or even Skidmarks for anyone that remembers those racers from yesteryear. There’s even a little hint of ATR. However, it’s nowhere near as precise in the handling as any of those titles and the controls were initially baffling. The game automatically accelerates so all you need to worry about is steering and braking. Oh and hammering the nitro!

Steering comes in two flavours – point the way you want to go with the analogue stick (this was apparently easy mode) and classic push left or right to rotate the car. Neither option is ideal to be honest with both introducing a variety of issues, but mainly their really imprecise. If you hit a wall, and you most certainly will, it’s a chore getting the car reset. Driving in a straight line can be equally frustrating.

Braking is heavy and is essential to get your way round the tight twisting tracks. It also lets you drift which in turn builds your nitro meter.

You also need to contend with destructible vehicles. Hit too many walls and you’ll start to smoke, burn and eventually explode. A waggle of the stick respawns you quickly but blowing up rarely dents your prospects of winning until the later, faster races.

Depth is added via the upgrades I mentioned earlier. These cover top speed, acceleration, nitro and durability. Each upgrade has 10 levels which get more expensive the higher they get. If you want to compete, you’ll need to invest sensibly but you’ll do alright if you pump most of your cash into acceleration and durability.

The graphics are nice and chunky. It throws in some nice effects like tyre smoke gradually filling the screen as well as the aforementioned fire on damaged vehicles. Track details such a crowds give a nice ambience that makes it feel like your racing in small Rally Cross environments.

The music and effects are also suitably retro. There’s some nice little chip tunes in there and the sound of impacts and crunching metal all do the job.

There is a lot of content on offer here, but the uninspiring track layouts and imprecise controls led to me getting frustrated the faster I was expected to go and ultimately made completing the game a bit of a chore. It did grow on me, but ultimately it’s tough to recommend.

CX Score
  • 70%
    Overall - 70%
70%

Summary

Pros

  • Nice chunky 16-bit sprites
  • Decent music and effects
  • Lots of content

Cons

  • Poor controls
  • Uninspiring track layouts

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