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Should I be excited about… Blaze Rush (PC)

Should I be excited about… Blaze Rush (PC)

I remember way back when I was a kid, I’d go around to that one awesome friend’s house who had a SNES (They were totally awesome without the SNES, it just made them better). We’d settle down for long evenings of gaming, many hours were whittled away on the likes of Super Mario World, Goof Troop and Donkey Kong Country. Then one day they would bring out Micro Machines, an unassuming little driving game where you drove around fantastic circuits in cute little toy F1 cars, or boats or hovercraft. And it was the best thing ever. Blaze Rush is like that, only 3D, and with weapons, and silly physics, and it’s the best thing ever.

2014-10-27_00004Blaze Rush is an arcade style driving game where you drive around in circuits, trying to cross the finish line first. The control scheme to achieve this couldn’t be simpler: If you wield a controller, you simply point the left stick (or right stick, if you’re into that sort of thing) in the direction you want to go, and the car goes in that direction, A is to boost if you have one stored and X is to fire off one of the varied weapons you pick up along the way. The beauty in this simplicity is that it really lets you enjoy the fast paced, chaotic nature of the game to it’s fullest where a fiddlier system might just bog you down.

2014-10-27_00003The action in Blaze Rush is chaotic in a word. Mental in another. Pretty darn fun in three words. You and up to seven other racers are zooming round the track, blasting each other with miniguns, saws and rockets whenever you get a chance. Sometimes you’re racing to get first, sometimes you’re racing not to get squished by the giant harvester that’s bringing up the rear. Regardless of the goal, the core concepts of the race remain the same – racing and pickups. The racing is easily recognizable if you ever did play Micro Machines back in the day. You can’t get killed – if you get hit with a weapon or fall off the track you just teleport to somewhere behind the pack. If you fall too far behind, you teleport somewhere behind the pack. Simple. Pick ups are handled in an interesting fashion however. Weapon pick ups randomly spawn all over the track and just lay there until someone drives into them. Boost pickups will spawn in a random zone behind the racer in first place. I was somewhat dubious at this decision at first, as it felt like maintaining first place would be a difficult task, but after a few races it really shows good design as it keeps the frantic action in one general area – that coveted first place position. If you fall too far behind, boosts will get you back, weapons will slow the others down. It makes first place feel like a constant fight for survival that everyone is involved in rather than a select skilled few (or chosen AI), and that’s a great, intense feeling at the best of times.

2014-10-27_00010The thing that really binds this whole experience together for me is the fantastic physics system. The three weapons I came across all worked in exceptionally different ways. The minigun fired a stream of twenty bullets that just gave folk in front a really bad day, making them skid around the track and bash off the walls (or fall off the track, why not). The circular saw would bounce of the walls until it hit someone, then make them spin around uncontrollably, a well placed shot would make them bounce over walls to their temporary doom. The rockets, oh the rockets. They home in on opponents and, upon impact, send them flying. Usually off the track too. These explosive impacts seem to have a cumulative impact too as during one beautiful moment of a race I witnessed two AIs target the leader of the pack with missiles that hit simultaneously. The resulting explosion launched him with such velocity that he must’ve shot directly for the sun. I paused the game for a moment then, to let a single tear slip from my eye and give salute to the brave soul that had gone to a better place.

There’s an abundance of differently designed vehicles in Blaze Rush for your racing pleasure. You unlock more as you go along the campaign mode and unlock medals, and each vehicle has a unique assortment of Mass, Traction and Acceleration characterise its resistance to weapons/shunts, turning ability and… acceleration respectively. They all fit in to the three main vehicle types detailed in the handy tutorial though: Normal, flying and Tracks. Normal cars, as you would expect, are basically average. Flying cars have poor traction but are really quick to reach max speed, they also have a tendency to fly for miles if hit with anything stronger than a light gust of wind. Tracked cars have some variation of tank tracks, are incredibly weighty and have amazing traction but will take an age to reach maximum speed. While each type of vehicle has definite differences in how it feels and plays, there’s no obvious winner when it comes to racing. I found it’s equally possible to lose with all three vehicle types.

2014-10-27_00012So, Blaze Rush. It’s a pretty magical game that left me wanting more even from the first race. There were more than a few times where I found myself laughing at events that were going on during the race, and that was just against the AI. Upon release the game is set to allow for up to 4 players on a couch and 8 players online. You owe it to yourself to look into this game when it’s released in a day or two.


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