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Obliteracers Review


Back in the days of the original Xbox, if you wanted to play some multiplayer with the latest wacky racer you would see your mates come over to your house. Games like Cel Damage or Mashed would force you to plug in several controllers at once, before commencing in a four-man race to the death to be able to prove who was the better player. Nowadays though most games have moved on with the local multiplayer madness taking a backseat, with a stable online connection and a paid for subscription being the new requirement should you wish for some friendship testing competition. Every once in a while however, a game will come along that offers up the best of both worlds. Obliteracers is the latest title to embrace the wacky racing genre, and with childhood memories in hand, I jumped in to see what was on offer in one of the latest indies to grace the store.

When anyone mentions party kart racing to me, my mind instantly flicks back to memories of the genre defining Crash Team Racing or the Mario Kart series among others. Obliteracers is a same screen party racer in the same vein, but with its own style, whilst retaining the classic and beloved features such as powerups and local multiplayer that fans of the genre have grown to love.

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There are two ways to play Obliteracers, Career mode and Versus.

Career mode is the game’s single player offering and sees the player faced with twenty-four events to work through with races varying between each of the four game modes. These include Survival, Knockout, Endurance and Leader. Survival sees racers battle it out to be the last man standing in a round based knockout style event, with the winner of each round winning a point towards their overall total and the overall champion being the first to reach the score limit. Knockout meanwhile is a free-for-all battle with points accrued for each enemy dispatched, with the round restarting when only one remains.

Endurance is a slightly more unforgiving spin on Knockout with competitors instantly respawning upon death and with up to sixteen cars on track this can become not only a battle of endurance, but a test of your reactions. Finally, we have Leader, this is my personal favourite of the four and is all about being at the front of the pack, as it is here in which points are earned. As per the norm for Obliteracers, players use various different weapon pickups found throughout the track to cause enough damage to destroy their opponents, but in Leader, whoever is at the front of the pack gets the points for each kill. This means that whilst first is the place you want to be, it may take a little more strategy than a simple race for your life.

I started off with the Career mode, after all that’s normally the best way to learn the ropes. In the Career players are tasked with collecting 68 bombs from the events in place. Bombs work much like medals in your traditional racers, with three earnt for a 1st place finish, two for 2nd and one for 3rd. There are a few mild exceptions with the occasional Boss race included, something which see the player face a tough opponent in a one-on-one face off with just one bomb available to win for the victor.

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To keep things varied, the guys over at Space Dust Studios have done more than cash-in on a proven formula with Obliteracers, for example the career mode sees more than just a number of different events to keep the player focused throughout. An inclusion that feels rather fitting to the game are the gameplay modifiers. Due to my initial lack of attention to the information on the loading screens, it wasn’t until I found myself being destroyed much quicker than usual later on in the career, and in turn needing a restart to progress on, that I realised what was happening. However a simple glance at the info jotted onto each screen will see that in later races it isn’t just extra competitors you have to contend with or the various weapons available in the game such as oil slicks – sorry SPACE LUBE – or the mines or missiles that you’re forced to pay attention too, but also the modifiers. These come in various forms, on their own, or many at the same time. The modifiers in question can include things such as making the karts faster or slower, disabling weapons, or causing double the usual damage along with things like exploding or one-use shields. These offer a nice slice of variety to the game as before their introduction I had started to gain an awareness of which weapons would be best suited to gain the win as quickly as possible. Once they come in and change up everything you’ve learnt to that point, things feel fresh once more.

Modifiers aren’t just in career mode however, and can be fully enjoyed in the local offline multiplayer offering as well as online too.

The next thing to talk about is of course the multiplayer variants available and despite enjoying the career mode, I feel it was much shorter than I would have initially liked, with a casual playthrough taking no more than a four or five hours at most. Of course this doesn’t take any fun away from the career at all, but it’s definitely the multiplayer modes that players will spend the most time with and it’s here in which I found a truly satisfying experience.

For me the multiplayer side of games aren’t what I look forward to unless it’s the latest iteration of a Battlefield game, however, it goes without saying that multiplayer is what kart racers are built for, and so it’s even better to be able to sit here and tell you that Space Dust Studios have pulled out all the stops to ensure that both the online and offline multiplayer offerings feel as natural to the game as possible. Both multiplayer modes feature the full set of options found in the rest of the game, with players able to choose which of the 13 tracks they wish to cause mayhem on as well as which modifiers are enabled.

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The final option, which is an often underappreciated option when included in a multiplayer title, is the option to race with bots. Although designed with player vs player combat in mind there will be more than just a handful of players who find themselves unable to encourage enough friends to pick up and play at the same time for a good competitive session. This is where bots come in. With players able to choose the maximum number of players between 2 and 16 for both the online and offline options the ability to set a chosen number of these as bots enables some longevity to the title. For those who want that competitive edge or are simply looking to fill some numbers, the bots offer a great challenge. In online lobbies with bots set to play, should someone join your lobby, the drop-in drop-out feature seems to accommodate this perfectly with my time in Obliteracers seeing people drop in and out of online sessions between rounds making for some truly accessible gameplay.

Overall and Obliteracers is a truly enjoyable game. Although the career mode may seem slightly shorter than most would come to expect, there is more than enough play time for the masses with the multiplayer offering some unique and welcomed gameplay. If the highly addictive one more go gameplay doesn’t pull you back for more, then the enticement of climbing the leaderboard will be more than enough to get you back in for another go!

With easy to pick up and play controls, and stunningly simple yet effective gameplay, Obliteracers is certainly up there with the best kart racers out there!

Carlos Santuana (Sly Boogie1993)
Carlos Santuana (Sly Boogie1993)
After 20 years of playing every game I can get my hands on, I can now be found selling my soul for anything Resident Evil, Gears of War, or Gamerscore related... all of which will be mastered after a good cuppa!
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