Coming from developers Kodo Linija is Bloody Rally Show – a type of game that I haven’t seen for a while; the top-down, hyper-violent racer. Games like this were common, once upon a time, with titles like Carmageddon carving out a niche and a place in the notorious annals of “video game nasties”. The big question I hope to answer in this review is this: is this an idea whose time has come again, or should it have stayed in the past? Strap on your racing suit…
There is a story to Bloody Rally Show, slight as it may be. In a dystopian future (is there any other kind?), the world seems to live for violent TV, with one of the top rated shows being Bloody Rally Show. This TV show requires only one thing from its contestants – be entertaining. Whether this entertainment is by racing and drifting nicely, by blowing up your opponents with car mounted weaponry, or as you look to mow down spectators and leave them as bloody smears on the ground, matters little – the choice is yours. Yours and a cast of shady characters at least, as it is these who will pop up every now and again to give you missions to achieve, such as killing a particular spectator.
The graphics on display are retro in the right way, and it puts me in mind of classic top-down racers from yesteryear. The cars are just rectangles, with different paint jobs and slightly different shapes according to the vehicle you choose. In fact, graphically at least, I’m pretty sure the good people at Playground Games aren’t going to be having any sleepless nights. The tracks are randomly generated for each session, with there being five races in a week, and seven weeks in a season. A little light maths reveals that the season therefore contains 35 races, and in all honesty, this is too many. But I digress.
Sticking with the presentation, the sound is awful, there’s no two ways about it. The music is okay, not too bad, although a little too “yoof” for my tastes, but the engine sounds are truly dreadful. Imagine a droning hum that pauses a couple of times to simulate shifting gears, but then continues with the dreary hum. And every car that you drive sounds the same, with no changes being made for upgrades, different models or anything else. In summary, the graphics work, the sound doesn’t.
Now, how does Bloody Rally Show play, I hear you ask? Well, that’s a tough one. In short bursts, it’s pretty fun. There is a good drift mechanic in action, even if the tires on the cars seem to be made of teflon, as they drift on every corner whether you want them too or not. There’s simply no point in braking at all, so once the flag drops, pin the throttle, slide round corners and then tidy the car up on the straights, then go on to win. It really is that simple, and while the handling may be arcade-y to the extreme, the rest of the game tries to go even further.
In some races, you will be gifted weaponry to nail to the top of your car. These range from rocket launchers to machine guns, and then to weird melee type weapons, like a morning star that trails along behind the car. Getting a kill with the weapons is quite good fun as well, and while the drifting makes it challenging to get a bead on an opponent, with practice you too can be a rocket sniper.
It’s these weapons which tie into the third leg of the gameplay – that of slaughtering the people silly enough to come out and watch these races. Running over pedestrians somehow reloads the weapon you currently have equipped, so taking a little detour off piste and running a couple of unlucky rally fans over is always a good bet.
There is a very simple kind of progression found in Bloody Rally Show as well, with finishing races getting you XP, and XP giving you levels. These levels then translate into you unlocking new cars and upgrades, and in this way you can make sure that your chosen steed is always ready to win. The actual gameplay is pretty good, to sum up, yet the only problem is that after five races or so, the fun starts to taper off pretty sharply. I can’t imagine sitting and playing through a full season in one session, and with some of the achievements tied to winning multiple seasons, the whole thing is a grind to complete. Yes it’s absolutely fine for a short sharp blast, but prolonged play is much more of a difficult sell.
In conclusion, if you fancy a simple racing game with simple graphics and awful sound, you’ve found it with Bloody Rally Show. If you are looking for a racing game to sink a lot of time into, may I direct you towards a little title by the name of Forza Horizon 5. If you must play a top-down combat driving game, then I guess Bloody Rally Show is the one for you, but you should be aware that the fun it brings falls off ever so quickly.
Bloody Rally Show is available from the Xbox Store