Everyone loves an arcade racer and Trailblazers hopes to be the next big hit. Taking inspiration from several well loved franchises such and F-Zero, WipeOut and Splatoon, it looks to take a fresh approach to the world of racing. Trailblazers is developed by Supergonk and Rising Star Games, a studio made with talent from the likes of Codemasters, Bizarre Creations and Lionhead. With that sort of pedigree we should have a great racer on our hands.
The team have taken a different approach to racing, here the traditional lines and apexes are always changing. This is a team racer where you paint the track to lay down boost points for you and your team mates. It’s a neat mechanic that makes for interesting races. Well, interesting when the AI actually contributes something to the team.
Another alternative approach to progression is the inclusion of objectives to complete rather than the standard finish 1st. These objectives are pretty basic – beat this specific character, get X number of points in either boost, racing or painting. It’s something different and completions will have something to work towards. Races themselves consist of time trials, straight up team Vs team and gate challenges. It also supports up to 4 player split-screen both offline and online. Pairing different characters with each other can see you developing some nice strategies to stay at the head of the pack when played with a friend.
Speaking of characters, we have 8 to choose from. Each have different abilities such as better handling, more paint or better boost. Weirdly these stats didn’t seem to make a massive difference in how the majority of handled. It was only the bigger vehicles with their poorer handling that made some of the tighter courses trickier to navigate. We also get a little story for each character through the single player campaign. Once these are out of the way there’s a few championships to take part in. Each of their vehicles look unique and are a cross between Pixar’s Cars and WipeOut’s anti-gravity beasts. And boy are they quick when you’ve built a solid racing line.
We’re given 10 tracks to compete on across a variety of environments as well as the usual reverse and mirror varieties. We’ve got a jungle world, a metropolis and a desert world. These are filled with twists and turns and alternate routes. With the painting mechanic, the roads become bright criss-crosses as each team tries to get an upper hand. It also means that the fastest route is the one where you have most paint. It’s imperative that you break up long lines of enemy paint otherwise they’re going to get a huge boost.
It’s all presented with a cel-shaded aesthetic, it’s not too heavy but it compliments the cartoon stylings of the whole thing. Roads have beautiful reflections, the environments are well realised and the colours really pop with the track coming alive as races progress. The music is alright, nothing special but a few tunes did make me think of Jet Set Radio from the Dreamcast. The only let down was some severe slow down even on the One X when things got seriously quick.
I enjoyed it and if the multiplayer can get a bit busier there could be a decent little community. It’s never going to compete with the big boys, but what it does, it does well. It’s a nice alternative take on the racing genre with unique mechanics and I happily spent a good few hours getting through the campaign and doing some split screen racing with my flatmate. The price of entry may put some people off but it’s a fun little game that can provide a challenge at times.
If you like arcade racers and want to try something different pick it up and let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter.