Last year saw the release of both AiRace: Tunnel and AiRace, two fun and highly regarded aircraft racing games from QubicGames. This year, the folks who brought you those two gems are back and have taken to the ground with their latest release: Remote Racers. Taking on the role of miniature vehicles in big environments, does this game have what it takes to win the race, or is it just another title that should be left in the dust?
When you first start out you are given the choice between two cars and three different race types: Championships, Single race and Time race. Championships consist of four different races, with individual championships for each different vehicle. Winning Championship races and setting new records in Single and Time races will earn you race points; the more points you earn, the more new vehicles and tracks you will unlock. There are eight racers and 15 tracks in total to unlock, so if you’re absolutely obsessed with completing games, then diligent playing will eventually pay off.
Scattered throughout each track are green gems that grant you nitro, rockets and landmine power-ups. Each can only be used once, but certain vehicles are automatically granted specific power-ups without needing to hit a green gem. Like most racing games that utilise different items and weapons, these power-ups can often be the determining factor of who wins a race and who finishes dead last.
The controls are incredibly simple and straightforward, as they should be in a racing game. The D-Pad is used to steer your vehicle while the A button causes it to accelerate; pressing Y will activate the handbrake for sudden stops while the B button is used to both brake and reverse, and the X button honks your horn. L and R buttons trigger power-ups, while pressing both buttons simultaneously will cause your vehicle to respawn, just in case you get too far off the path. The DS’s bottom screen doesn’t do anything except display a mini-map of whatever track you are on, but touch controls aren’t used at all. All of the other information, such as your speed and what place you are in, are all displayed right on the top screen.
Though the premise is simple enough, everything quickly begins to fall apart. The first thing that anyone who plays will notice is that the controls are incredibly loose, and at times it can be very difficult to maintain control of your vehicle. There are also problems with the camera trying to centre itself behind your car and sometimes slipping into weird and awkward viewing positions, making it difficult to see what is ahead of you or off to the sides. The third major problem here is that vehicles in races (including your own) will frequently clip through walls, the floor and any other part of the track. All three of these problems seem like issues that should have been dealt with way before the game’s release.
The audio and visual presentations in Remote Racers are also pretty disappointing. The vehicles are blocky and the tracks are very lacklustre, not to mention, again, that vehicles are often seen going through the walls and floor. The soundtrack fits the mood of a racing game with fast-paced and catchy tunes, but all of the tracks sound so similar that it’s impossible to tell one from the others. Overall, Remote Racers is not something that would be considered aesthetically pleasing.
Of course, the most important thing about video games is whether or not they are fun to play, and frankly, Remote Racers is not really all that fun. If you can look past the baffling control, camera and glitch issues, then you might get a bit of enjoyment out of this title. If you do happen to squeeze some bit of fun out of Remote Racers, then the absence of a multiplayer feature or any type of leaderboard will make sure that you don’t bother sticking around for a second run. The replayability here is almost completely nonexistent.
Remote Racers is disappointing on so many different levels that it is difficult to find anything good to say about it. There is a slight draw in the opportunity to unlock different racers and maps, but even that is a bit of a stretch. If you really love racing games then this one won’t kill you at 500 Points, but keep in mind that there are plenty of better titles out there to choose from.