SPOGS Racing (WiiWare)

Game Review

SPOGS Racing Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Does SPOGS Racing offer the exciting racing experience that WiiWare is lacking so far?

It's no secret that the WiiWare service has been crying out for a racing title, so many fans of the genre have already put a lot of hope in SPOGS Racing after viewing the many inviting screenshots and videos that have been popping up around the internet over the past few weeks. Combining the look of an arcade racer with many of the unique and fun mechanics of a kart racer, the formula used in SPOGS Racing would seem like the perfect combination for a quality WiiWare racing title. Sadly it didn’t quite turn out that way, as we will find out.

In SPOGS Racing you take control of a SPOG (Sports Player Object Gyros), which is basically a wheel with a face inside and an exhaust pipe protruding from it. You get to go up against other SPOG drivers in various types of events ranging from standard track meets to Crash 'N Grab races that allow you to smash into opponents and steal vital parts from their SPOG. You can play in a single player game against the computer-controlled opponents, or grab a friend and experience a little two-player action. Two-player mode also includes the standard racing mode as well as the Crash N' Grab mode in which the two of you can go head to head. To add a little variety to the mix, there's even a SPOGmaker mode that allows you to customize your own SPOG. While this might sound intriguing, it really only allows you to change the colour of the SPOG, the face inside of it, and what type of strength your SPOG will have, such as speed or handling. This mode feels like more of a tacked on afterthought than a real additional mode of play.

In terms of control, you can use either the Wiimote/Nunchuk combination or the Classic Controller to play SPOGS. Both work just fine and feel very similar in the way they're used in the game. You use the analogue stick to steer your SPOG and you have buttons for acceleration, braking, and using the special power up items you can pick up along the race tracks. You'll even have to occasionally make use of the D-pad in order to choose which part you want to steal from your opponent in the Crash N' Grab mode. It's all fairly intuitive and very easy to pick up and play.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for the gameplay and it's in this regard that SPOGS Racing really begins to go off the tracks. There's not a lot of consistency in the way the computer-controlled opponents perform. One example is that you can be travelling along at top speed and out of nowhere one of your opponents will just fly past you without warning. At other times you'll breeze past the other racers for no apparent reason, even when you're not using a power up item. There's not a lot of logic to how the whole AI function is executed; there's nothing quite as annoying as being close to the finish line and moving at full speed only to have all three other racers fly past you at the last second. Even on the Easy difficulty setting, winning feels more like luck than the result of gaming skill. Power-ups are also few and far between, which is just as well since normally an opponent will swoop in front of you and grab what few there are anyway. Luckily the two player games feature a much fairer and balanced feel. In all honesty, the two-player modes are really the only decent facets of this terribly erratic game -- and even they're not that great.

As if the streaky gameplay wasn’t enough of a hindrance, it seems the developers in charge of the visuals were working with their eyes shut. Not only are the graphics extremely bland in most places, they're also terribly jaggy when viewed up close. This is inexcusable, even by WiiWare standards; it honestly wouldn't look out of place on the Nintendo 64. To make matters worse, when you get past the initial track visuals and begin looking at the backgrounds, all you can normally see is one very blurred colour fading off into the distance. It's a shame when the best visual aspects of a game are the menus and gauge displays, but that seems to be the case in SPOGS Racing. Overall it's a very disappointing visual production considering how good the sample screenshots made the game appear.

If there's one thing that can be said about SPOGS Racing it's that the game is very consistent. As below average as the gameplay and visuals are, the music is just as bland. For some strange reason the developers chose country-tinged rock tunes that seem to come out of nowhere and, while they are not particularily horrible, do not feel like they belong anywhere near this game. The sound effects, on the other hand, are much better and are easily the high point of the package. Everything, from the acceleration noises to the tire screeching, all sound very authentic. It's a shame that the same attention to detail didn't go into the musical tracks as well.


To be fair, there are some really unique ideas in SPOGS Racing. The only problem is that most aspects of the game are so far below average that these few redeeming qualities tend to get lost along the way. There will inevitably be some racing game fans that will find enough good in this title to warrant a purchase, but the broken gameplay, cheap AI, and dismal visuals will likely be more than enough to scare everyone else off. If you're looking for a quality racing game fix on the WiiWare service you are going to have to wait a bit longer, sadly. SPOGS Racing’s tag line says "Put your face in the race" but in all honesty you're not going to want your face anywhere near this game let alone in it.

From the web

Game Trailer

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User Comments (86)



aceattorney said:

Great review. I had very slight interest when I found out it was on the shop channel, but when I read the review I lost all interest.



Terra said:

I was looking forward to this one but after looking at this and IGN's review, i'm definetly leaving this one when it comes to Europe



calculon said:

This game was going to be crap from the beginning - everyone knew it, they just didn't want to hear it. At least you've saved most of us from buying it. By the way, the sample screenshots looked bloody awful too.

I'm still going with my ultimate prediction that WiiWare is going to be a load of pants.



Link79 said:

The funny thing is, the description of the game on the Wii shop Channel claims that this is a must have title for your Wii ware collection. More like wishful thinking. This Is obviously a game that truly sucks and I hope the developers will be severely punished for trying to pass off this crap as acceptable gaming. Thanks for Warning us. I nearly blew my Wii points.



Boringman54 said:

I'm disappointed. I was really looking forward to getting this, though I still might. But great review.



supermario2 said:

When I saw it I thought "I'll buy that right away" now that I've read the review I'm keeping as far as I possibly can from this and nice review by the way.



Wiireview123 said:

is kemco still making games? if they are, then they should make a top gear for wiiware. add a few wepons, leaderboards, and adtctive gameplay, and it could be a wiiware racer to remeber! and i wouldnt really care about graphics. gameplay makes a game.



Kreegs07 said:

Thanks for saving me some makor points Corbie. SPOGS is now on my do not download list.



DEMON212 said:

Well I was close, as soon as I saw the review I said "2" and it's a 3. Thought this looked terrible and it sounds like it is.

Great review Corb



Draygone said:

Graphics aren't that important a detail for me, but hearing that the AI is unbalanced convinces me that I probably don't want it. It sounds even worse than the rubber band effect.



Objection said:

I thought the videos looked bad too. It looked too easy to get turned around and the frame rate (incredibly important for a racer) was poor. I'm hearing some strong rumors that next week will be pretty good for N.A.-ians. Let's hope.



strade32 said:

that's the lowest score on wiiware-world, and with good reason. i'll just play my MK Wii



DEMON212 said:

Objection, the thing I noticed straight away wasn't the frame rate, it was that the wheels don't spin. IMO it's pretty crap to be driving a tyre that doesn't spin.



SmaMan said:

All the Shop Channel descriptions are made to make it sound awesome. Nintendo just wants to sell, crappy game or not.

btw, don't these Spogs look familiar? They're the Wheelies from all the Kirby games! They just have a face in the middle instead of an eye!



Atlantis1982 said:

Did the developers, for this game, said they are planning DLC? Perhaps releasing an AI patch and a graphics expansion should be the first.



Corbs said:

Perhaps releasing a completely different game would be a better idea.



Stratos said:

So Nintendo makes devs fix their games who find creative used for old hardware like the bongos, but doesn't make devs who un-creatively make a poor game go back and fix it up...
Makes me wish that they would post at least 2 WW and 2 VC games a week.



Ricardo91 said:

Wow. I can't believe I thought about paying 10 dollars for this...
I should've known that a game based on a late 90's toy craze would be lousy.

Well this was a real kick in the nuts. Not only to me but to all the people who thought about buying it. At least I know to save my 1000 points for something meaningful like Lostwinds or Starfox 64

@Smaman. I was thinking the same thing! They especially look like the wheely bikes from Kirby's Air Ride! I think I'll just play KAR again instead of this crap.

Edit: I think the reason I wanted this game so bad in the first place was because Nintendo claimed it was a "must have title". Sneaky one, Nintendo, but no money for you!



CanisWolfred said:

This is very dissappointing. The only other party racer on the Wii is Mario Kart Wii, and I was incredibly dissappointed in that one too - The new items just increased the cheapness of the game and dissolved the need for any skill, the increase in players increased the chances of you getting hit with said weapons(at once, right before the finish line), and the new trick system just made it so the tracks had to be horribly altered, increasing your chances for cheap deaths(Rainbow Road used to be so good, now your lucky if you can finish a race on it). But as much as I herald MKW as the messager from Hell, This game, this SPORGS is the Devil himself. Not only is this game bland in every way, but it still has framerate issues, and the cheap AI is worse than MKW's. After checking Metacritics, I can say that the only decent racing game on the Wii is Excite Truck, and that is incredibly different from most racing games, and surely won't feed the straightforward racing fix on the Wii that I've been looking for all these years. [sigh] I guess I'll just have to wait for F-Zero Wii, and who knows when that'll be?

Was Kirby Air Ride good? I was under the impression that it was bad( but then again, I figured the same thing of F-Zero GX). I had rented it once but never got to play it(same with GX), and I got the impression that my brother didn't like it. If it's good I'll add it to my list of old games to get, as I know where to get it cheap.



MrPoo6321 said:

Man, that's ridiculous. I can't believe this kind of shovelware BS is making it to WiiWare... I kind of figured there would be some crappy games, but lately it feels like the amount of crap we have been receiving is entirely overwhelming. How can Nintendo release this garbage for 10 bucks, and not feel like they're ripping people off? This looks just about as good as that stupid Burger King Bumper Kart game for the Xbox 360.



TomMc said:

Worse game on Wii-ware! Are you sure? Saying it's worse than My Pokemon Ranch & Critters round up! Wii-ware titles just seem to be getting worse! O:



StarDust4Ever said:

I was a fool to download this last night before waiting for a review. Your whole Spog is nothing but a 2D avatar inside a giant transparent tire. I did a quick race against three opponents and finished first at 2:56, but that was the longest most boring three minutes of racing, ever! I thought the track would never end. Looks like I've downloaded my first Wiiware lemon

@mickeymac: I can't believe you think Mario Kart Wii is a bad game. Best Mario Kart by far! I have been playing it more often than any of my other Wii games since it came out in the US. The only thing that has annoyed me thus far about the game is that people have abused certain programming exploits on Grumble Volcano (my least favorite course) and later Mushroom Gorge (my favorite course) to basically skip the whole level by doing donuts around the finish line. Cutting corners is fair play, but skipping the whole race isn't. The fact that it has now happened twice makes me wonder which course is next. Download and view the "World Record" ghosts in the Mario Kart Channel (only 21 seconds for Grumble Volcano) to see what I'm talking about.



Peznaze said:

So now we have a game that is unquestionably the worst of WiiWare thus far. Now, will it plummet to the bottom of the downloads charts? Will the obscure popularity of pogs send these flaming racing spogs to some sort of profitability? Only time will tell.

What I find... odd... is that Nintendo so far has stuck weaker titles in packs of two or with a stronger title to prevent a "bad week". But SPOGS launched solo. So now I've got to think that either there is too few WiiWare available now that they're comfortable doing that or that someone at Nintendo actually thought this was a good game. The latter being most likely... someone (whose opinion matters in these things) liked this game.



CanisWolfred said:


I just don't like a game that relies on luck to win, at least not when I'm playing competitively. My brother is always good a racing games, and he plays 10 times as much of MKW as I do. Yet, the first time we race against eachother I leave him in the dust, and not because I was better than him, but because I was just plain lucky. When I see him come in dead last on Rainbow Road(and nearly lapped too) after he did fantastic on it in the Time Trials, it just makes me sick. I've played other Mario Kart games and enjoyed them, and none of them were nearly as bad as the Wii one in terms of Cheapness. You proved my point when you mentioned that glitch thing.

Our tastes differ I suppose, and I did enjoy it for a while, until I finally got sick of it. I enjoyed Mario Kart Double Dash!!, so that alone puts me at odds with other Mario Kart fans. I just prefer feeling like "if I get better, maybe I can win" rather than "if I get lucky maybe I'll win". I've played Wipeout and loved it, if that's any implication.



Ricardo91 said:

Thankfully, this is the second least-selling VC game as of now, though that could possibly change in a few days. The only game behind it is (Surprise!) Star Soldier R.

A game that looks and sounds this bad deserves 2 B last, period. >:^(



SmaMan said:

About Kirby Air Ride, if you've ever wondered what it would be like if the creators of Super Smash Bros. made a racing game...this is that game. It's not anywhere near as good as SSB by any means. In fact there isn't much depth except for the giant 120 block grid for each mode where you complete a certain task for each mode and get one of the squares colored in. (Much like the collection room in Brawl) The City Trial mode is very adicting and it is the first time in the Kirby series where Kirby can move in all directions. (instead of just left and right) There are some items like Kirby's abilities and stuff but nothing like Mario Kart in terms of getting lucky to win.

Buy it? If you're a fan of racing games this will keep you interested for a bit...not too terribly long though. If you're a Kirby fan then this is a great addition to your collection. If you want to get your fix of racing on giant tires then get Kirby Air Ride game, not SPOGS...ugh



CanisWolfred said:

Thanks SmaMan, I'm a fan of Kirby and Racing games, and again, I can find it cheap, so it will definately be more of a deal than SPORGS, no matter how long it is.



CanisWolfred said:

You could say that one again tehub, but boy, I sure was able to convince myself it was, just so I could have a good racing game on the Wii. It's a good thing I go to sites like this, because it keeps me from wasting my valuable money.



Kawaiipikachu said:

Gee i didn't realised there are going to be a really bad game on WiiWare before reading this review .
At least i enjoyed reading this review more than what i likley get playing this game .

This is a great review of a lemon . lol



WarioFan63 said:

Well thankfully this place doesnt consider it better then My Pokemon Ranch....

All the Shop Channel descriptions are made to make it sound awesome. Nintendo just wants to sell, crappy game or not.

Im sorry, I gotta be nitpicky on this but, unless Nintendo's PR decided to start out every NeoGeo description the exact same way, Ive got a feeling that the third parties write their own description. I highly doubt Nintendo would call a third party game a must-have. They probably saw the description sent to them, rolled their eyes a little and went "um...ok!" while looking nervously at each other.

This looks just about as good as that stupid Burger King Bumper Kart game for the Xbox 360.

Hey hey hey hey hey HEY! You do NOT insult anything with The King in it! It has to be against the law!



MasterMario said:

I guess it was true. You can judge a book by it's cover. In this case, you can judge a game with it's graphics (sometimes).
Just download Star Soldier R and save 200 Wii points. I don't want it to be in last place!



Ricardo91 said:

@Mastermario. I don't want it to be in last place either, especially right behind wiiware's worst. I mean C'mon, is it really that undisirable?
I don't want it though. Sorry.



MasterMario said:

@Mr. Cheez: SPOGS Racing is now above Critter Round up! Next thing you know, it will go above Toki Tori.



Objection said:

@Mr Cheez
Wow. You almost had me until you contradicted yourself. You gotta get it yourself before you can tell others to do the same, silly.



SmaMan said:

I imagine that it'll get a huge boost right now while it's new. Then once everyone realizes it's a steaming pile of crap and word circulates to other reviewing sites/magazines, it'll go back down...still I can't believe it's beating Star Soldier R. I'm actually kinda interested in that one.

Well now that I've seen the Shop Channel description I see what you mean. But Nintendo or not, game companies want to make money and in the end, they want your 1000 Wii Points and they'll do anything they can to get them.



Terra said:

I Like to be cautious before buying games for the VC / WiiWare, in fact, sites like this introduced me to classics like the Star Soldier Series, Gunstar Heroes, Sin and Punishment etc... and i would never have bought Lostwinds had i not heard about the great things people said on this website. Thank You WiiWare World and VC Reviews for steering me wisely



Jockolantern said:

I had a rotten feeling about this game from the get-go. Not at all surprised to hear it's a dud.



Deep4t said:

When I first say the screens (about a day before release )
I thought it looked quite good, but I didn't really look into it. To be honest, I don't think anyone would realise there was a connection to POGS just by looking at it (or playing it)... i mean. Why POGS? I dont get it.



Tides_of_Chaos said:

@ Mickeymac
I'm not sure if you went out and bought the game yet, but if you have doubts, do it. Kirby Air Ride is an awesome game, although not because of the racing, per se. City Trial is perhaps the best innovation I have ever seen in a racing game and they really need to make a sequel where there are multiple cities. It's a great deal of fun and perhaps the most underrated game on the Gamecube.



CanisWolfred said:

@Tides of Chaos

No I had not gotten Air Ride yet, but not from a lack of trying. I attempted to go to Gamestop, but stopped 2/3 of the way there because of the weather, and because it was getting late(I have to bickride to places). I will be getting it tomorrow however, weather permitting.

Edit: Weather permitted, unfortunately my bad sense of direction did not. I ended up at the wrong store, and I realize now that it's a stupid Idea to take a bike along a busy street, thru several bad neighborhoods, when only glancing at a map. In more positive news, I found a ton of good games that I had been looking for for a while. Would you believe I had never bought Super Mario Sunshine, nor Starfox Adventures? Trust me, that'll keep me busy for a good part of the summer.

Now to keep on track, I still can't believe SPORGS turned out to be so bad. I had such high hopes for it, yet in an instant they were crushed, like a worm in driveway. I looked back at the videos, and now I can see that it's not as good as I believed, but still, from the descriptions and the previews, it seemed like it was going to be a real winner. It's not just the reviews either, because even people who bought the game are complaining about it. All I want is a great racing experience on my favorite system, yet at this rate, my favorite system is one again going to be the good old Gamecube...

Oh well, there's still the possibility of a new F-Zero game, and I here there's a Wipeout wanna-be coming to the Wii, and that might not be so bad, but still, neither would havve been as much of a steal as SPORGS, had it turned out to be decent even.

Also, this would really have been cool since it has POGS and I loved POGS, I still have some of those. How do you play POGS?



SmaMan said:

Yeah I remember POGS! They were awesome! I can't remember how to play it though, but my sister and I used to collect tons of 'em. Too bad I lost them all in Hurricane Katrina...



AlexSays said:

@ alxtlvra-
Just be glad we didn't see another 7.
That's turned out to be the most unreliable number used in the world of gaming.
At least with a 3, Corbie made sure we got the point.



strade32 said:

okay, enough with complaining about 7s. we get it they are unreliable, no need to remind us.



ChocoDK said:

Wow 3/10 what a horrible horrible HORRIBLE GAME! I think my first Wii Ware purchase will be Mega Man 9. Very good review =).



Chipmunk777 said:

Ugh......... this game is one spot behind toki tori... I bet by next week it will have passed it. I wish ppl were required to read the reviews on this site BEFORE they buy a game.


I completely agree! Gunstar Heroes and Sin and Punishment are two of my favorite VC games, and I would have never even thought about buying them without vc-r! You guys do a great job, here!



CanisWolfred said:


Nintendo Power for me, actually, they introduced me to Treasure in general, and since then, I've tried to play all of Treasure's games, and so far, I haven't gotten a bad one in the bunch. Quite the opposite, actually, such as recently, I got Sylpheed: The Lost Planet, an early PS2(did you know PS2 discs turn a deep shade of blue?) Shmup made by Treasure. I had heard of it on Metacritics, and its score wasn't exactly high, but I decided to get it anyways. It turned out to be pretty good, and the ability to choose which two weapon you wanted to use in the stage(at certain points in the stage you're allowed to choose weapons again) brought a good amount of strategy to the game, as well as a lot of fun messing with the weapon configurations.

In fact, my only complaint is that if you die, you have to repeat the entire level over again, but the levels aren't exactly long, and you have a rather large health gauge, and at certain points in the game that guage is filled by 5 units. Don't get me wrong, the game isn't a walk in the park, it's just not overly hard or overly frustrating(unfair).

I don't understand why it got so many bad marks...



sailingtheseaoffools said:

"videos, and now I can see that it's not as good as I believed"

This game still looks better and costs less then a lot of ps2 to wii shovelware released by certain companies such as Data Design, Phoenix Games, Popcorn Arcade or whatever the hell they call themselves.



Terra said:

When sound effects are the best part of a game, turn and run as fast as you can



TokiToku said:


the deep blue ps2 discs are CDs, not the ps2s standard dvds. the CDs are used if the game can fit on a CD, as it slightly cheaper then a DVD.



CanisWolfred said:


I thought at first that they weren't the standard issue discs, but then assume that they were just oxydized or something(which makes less sense). I guess that also explains why it only cost $20 new, I just figured it was because it was 8 years old.



supermario2 said:

Well Europe got it 2 days ago ,unfortunately, but still we go the better game Pirates: key of dreams



Dalek_Gerbil said:

Wii ware titles are getting worse as game creators speed the process up to ge there game out there before wii ware get cramed full and very little amount of individual titles are sold. This is a missed oportunity.



AVahne said:

lol the lowest scoring game on this site....eh if i was reviewing,i would give it a 1/10



Damo said:

Mickeymac - Silpheed: The Lost Planet is actually the sequel to the Mega CD game Silpheed (which in turn is a sequel itself). The PS2 version certainly isn't Treasure's finest hour - just put it next to Gradius V, Radiant Silvergun or Ikaruga for proof of that - but like you say, it's ok for a while.

Oh, and PS2 discs don't turn blue - the blue ones are CD-ROM format releases. PS2 DVD games come on sliver discs.

Just check the back of the box and you'll either see 'DVD ROM' or 'Compact Disc' at the bottom, which denotes the format of the game. Games that can fit on a CD are usually put on a CD, regardless of the fact that the PS2 can play DVDs. Guess it works out cheaper for Sony.



CanisWolfred said:


Now I see it.

And if Sega CD games ever come to VC, I hope they release Silpheed, I'd like to see how it stacks up.



jorenmartijn said:

I'm afraid I've been fooled to download this piece of crap and I really don't recommend it to anyone.
It doesn't even take the laws of physics in mind completely, so when it appears that you have more speed than your opponent, they still seem to be able to keep up if they don't have a speed power-up. It's also the main thing that annoyed me in Mario Kart 64, which Double Dash and sequels fixed, fortunately.
If you want good racing on the Wii, just stick to Mario Kart.



Mr_Game_and_Watch said:

: lol :
How many points make it 3/10?
AI and the SPOGS maker,Graphics.
hardly 3/10.
My friend agrees it's fun when he played it twice and as he has no Wii internet is buying the PC version over SBCG4AP.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

@Mr. Game and Watch = I'm glad you enjoy this. And thanks for referencing me! I liked Critter Round-Up way more than WWW's review, and then the same thing occured with Plattchen also. Funny how that works...



EJD said:

A shame the first WiiWare racer turns out to be awful. One of the screenshots looked like a TrackMania game. Let's hope there's a good racer out soon.



McFeedback said:

Man, I wish I had read this before downloading. The review is so right, there is no rhyme or reason to the gameplay, acceleration logic, AI or soundtrack. A truly piss-poor effort, and if this is how Nintendo is going to exploit there core support, it won't be around for long. Suitable for 4 year olds just mastering hand-eye co-ordination.



wiiwareaddict said:

O.K. if you haven't played Mario Kart yet.If you have then this will leave you with an empty feeling. 4/10

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