Review: Bang Bang Racing (Microsoft Xbox 360)

Bang Bang Racing
Developer: Digital Reality
Publisher: Digital Reality
Genre: Racing
Release Date: 6/6/12

Every now and then a racing game will come along that will challenge expectations and will provide hours of exciting moments at a break neck speed.

Bang Bang Racing is not that game.

Bang Bang Racing is a racing game (surprise!) that is also available on android devices. This is worth mentioning because you can tell that the presentation of the game is more suited for a mobile device than for a home console. For example, while the menus are fine and functional, the camera angles that the game uses are not the typical camera angles you would expect for a console racing game. The camera is pulled back and follows the action from a top down angle. There is another camera angle to choose from that is more static and also from a top down angle. The default camera view follows your car and swerves around as you race along the track, which at first is kind of disorienting, like watching NASCAR, but with a loaded up Charlie Sheen in control of the camera direction.

The cars and tracks have a cartoonish look, with the cars resembling micro machines on steroids. They’re cute and well detailed. The tracks have different background themes, from tropical to desert to arctic settings. There is an audience watching the race from bleachers near each tracks finish line, but they are literally disembodied cartoon heads. Like if you chopped the heads off of several Nintendo Mii avatars and lined them up. It is odd to say the least.

While the graphics are simple, the art style is consistent and they’ve developed dozens of interesting, well designed tracks. The frame rate never dips and the game runs smoothly on the Xbox 360. The sounds in the game are even more simple than the graphics, with decent soundtracks and sound effects that do not either detract from the experience or add much to it.

There are a couple of modes to the game. Most of the game revolves around the single player Career mode. In this mode you play through four progressively harder sets of races that reflect different classes of racing. The classes of racing are N-Dura, Evo GT, Protech and Apex. Each set will take place in a variety of locations with different types of modes used through each set of races. There is the standard race, an elimination race, and time trial modes represented in each class of racing.

Aside from the Career mode, there is also a single race feature where you can tweak the class, difficulty, number of laps, and the style of race to whatever you want. You can also play through a Championship mode, which is just the championship races from the end of the single player career mode class races. Strangely the achievements for beating the different class championship races can only be unlocked in this separate mode instead of when you beat them through those races in the career mode. There is also a local-only multiplayer mode that supports four players. It is confusing to me why the game does not support any sort of online multiplayer mode. The computer AI is decent, but not enough of a challenge to really replace the enjoyment of racing against human controlled opponents. The single player content can be played through in a couple of hours, and restricting the multiplayer to when you can get a couple people over to play the game sort of limits the longevity of the game beyond that couple of hours.

The game is easy to pick up and play. The right trigger accelerates, the left trigger brakes, X is for drifting, and The A button initiates a turbo boost. At first the game is a little confusing due to the camera angle swerving around to a different angle with each turn you make, but it only takes a moment to adjust to this. The turbo function has a meter that drains as you use it, the size and recharge speed of the meter is determined by the type of car you choose. Some have a larger turbo meter and faster recharge time. There is a risk/reward system in place with turbo, as using it up in the beginning means slowing down at a pit stop to refill the meter. The controls respond well an are perfectly suite to the game. Personally, I found the D-pad easier to use to control the game than the analog stick, but either work fine.

As mentioned, the computer AI is not that great. I’m not sure if it is because the game is also available on mobile devices, which don’t offer the precision for control that you can get with a controller, but it feels like when you get the hang of a track that it is not too difficult to gain and keep the lead in a lot of the single player races. There are different obstacles along the race tracks to try and keep a player on their toes, but many of these are easily avoided.

There are twenty cars, separated between the racing classes, and with individual traits among them, such as being able to take more damage or control smoother. While there are twenty cars, they do not feel different enough from each other to really make this distinction. Each vehicle has a bunch of different skins to unlock, however these do not add anything to the game aside from being able to put zebra stripes on your chosen car. After completing the single player career you will have tried every car and all of the tracks, both forwards and backwards. With no online multiplayer and only aesthetic unlocks, there is little reason to replay the game.

Racing games with a birds eye view have been around for a long time, and there’s nothing new or notable that Bang Bang Racing adds to the genre. The game does not give you enough compelling reasons to invest your time into it to make it addictive. Given the price of the game compared along with the amount of content within the game to other Xbox Live Arcade games, I’m at a loss to see who this might appeal to.

The Android version of the game is significantly cheaper, and in the description mentions that the game delivers a home console experience on a mobile device. While it may offer more than other mobile games have to offer, the game fails to deliver a home console experience on an actual game console. At 800 MSP there just isn’t enough to Bang Bang Racing to justify purchasing it over many other deep, enjoyable Xbox Live Arcade games for the same price. I can name ten 80 point Xbox Indie Games that would offer a better experience for the price than this game. At $10, there’s just not enough bang for your buck.

The Scores
Modes: Mediocre
Graphics: Above average
Sound: Mediocre
Control: Above Average
Replayability: Bad
Balance: Decent
Originality: Awful
Addictiveness: Awful
Appeal Factor: Awful
Miscellaneous: Worthless
FINAL SCORE: Pretty Poor Game

Short Attention Span Summary Bang Bang Racing is a generic, top down racing game that doesn’t have enough content or reasons to replay the game to justify the 800 MSP price tag.



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