BlazeRush (PS3 [Reviewed], PC)
Developer: Targem Games
Publisher: Targem Games
Genre(s): Arcade Racing, Indie
Released: October 28, 2014 (PC), November 4, 2014 (PS3)
ESRB Rating: E10+ – Everyone 10+
BlazeRush is a fast paced action racer with an isometric almost slanted top-down perspective. It harkens back to classic Micro Machines with combat and Mario Kart style boosters. The game features a career mode that largely feels like one big tutorial. Here you’ll do things like complete solo laps within a certain amount of time, learn about weapons and power-ups, and of course race against bots. Naturally the actual racing part of the campaign is the best part of it, and it comes in a few different flavors.
There’s the standard three lap race in which you try to be the first one to cross the finish line, but there’s also a race that is compromised of rounds where a giant bulldozer type thing is chasing behind all the cars crushing them as it reaches them (object here is survival while trying to slow down the other cars to get them crushed or knocked off the track) and a King of the Hill style mode where the objective is to be in first for the longest period of time. Of them all, my favorite is the survival type simply because it tends to last a bit longer than the standard race and is more chaotic.
What I like most about BlazeRush is that it is accessible fun. What I mean by that is that it’s just a fun fast paced combat racing game with zero learning curve. You move and steer with the left control stick, and there’s a button to fire your weapon and a button to use your boost. And that’s it. It’s very much a pick up and play type of game that takes all of two seconds to get a hang of the controls. It is as simple as can be from a gameplay perspective, and for a game such as this I think that is key.
The isometric nature of the camera keeps all of the cars on the screen, and if one suddenly falls way behind I found that I lost focus of my car. Not all the time, and never for long, but in a game such as this with narrow tracks and plenty of areas to slide off the track even a split second of losing sight of where you are can send you spiraling off the track.
Thankfully, BlazeRush is extremely forgiving. You’re never out of a race. If you aren’t in first place, then you’ll have plenty of opportunity to pick up speed boosters that will quickly get you right back in the thick of thing. There’s also plenty of weapons like machine guns and my favorite, the homing missile, that can slow down those ahead of you. Since the races aren’t long, this all combines to create a fast paced chaotic environment where you can be around last for the entire thing and still end up winning.
BlazeRush features a number of tracks across three planets. Each race in the career mode offers up three to five cups that you can earn. Getting cups is how you progress because you unlock new tracks and races, and go to the next planet. Coming in first is going to net you three cups, and depending on the race you can get to extra cups for completing other objectives like “earn 20,000 points” or “kill three opponents.” There are 209 total cups to earn.
You’ll also unlock new cars/drivers playing the campaign. There are 16 cars, each with their own stats. Some are better suited for specific race types than others, so paying attenting to the stats like mass, acceleration, and handling could help give a slight advantage depending on the race and/or track.
You’ll play the career mode against four or five bots (perhaps more in the higher stages, but I haven’t unlocked all of them), but there’s local multiplayer for four players. You can also play online locally, with friends, with strangers, and with bots. Online play can feature up to eight racers, which really makes for some chaotic action. You can choose to find a quick game, find a game, or host a game.
Hosting a game gives you a number of options. You can choose to allow for a public lobby, a private lobby, or don’t allow any online players. You can set the maximum number of players (3 to 8) and fill empty slots with bots (up to eight). You can allow people who join your game to vote on the track/race type, allow or disallow modifiers, and set the difficulty of bots. So if you want to play solo against seven bots, just host an online game and don’t allow other players. Whether playing with folks online or just the AI, the game is more fun with more players.
BlazeRush is a fun game regardless of whether or not you’re playing alone or with others. I didn’t see any noticeable lag in the online games I played, that had a mixture of human players (including two guys who were playing locally on on one system) and bots. It doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done before or bring anything unique to the table, but it is a fun game that you can just pick up and play for short bursts of guaranteed fun. Don’t let that short bursts comment fool you, this is a game you can play for hours at a time because it does have that “one more race” type mentality because of how quick they are and how much fun wrecking other cars is.
BlazeRush only costs $9.99, and I’d say that’s a good price point. It’s worth that, easily. It has high replay value, and it’s also a great game to play when you don’t have a lot of time to play. Say you have 10 minutes to kill, this is a game you can fire up and easily get in three or four faces. It’s a shame it didn’t also release on PS4 and especially PS Vita. Maybe it’ll come to those systems later, but I really think it would be a great fit for the Vita. If you have a PS3 or play PC, BlazeRush is a good fun game that’s worth $10, so if this type of racing game sounds like something you’ll enjoy then you likely won’t be disappointed in your purchase.
* A PSN code was provided by the publisher for review.