Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars Review
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A fun game with friends, but otherwise it is held back by the inherent flaws associated with a game of this type. Try before you buy.
- Fantastic multiplayer
- Good ideas and controls
- Inherently awkward gameplay
- Excruciating difficulty in single-player
- Lack of variety
Recently on the PlayStation Network, you may have noticed a peculiarly named title, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. After reading said name, you may have thought ‘Well I never! This piece of software promises you can drive an automobile that can obtain velocities in excess of sound speed, all while performing aerial somersaults and dueling with other vehicles! This certainly piques my interest!’
First impressions of the demo may have left you coming to a realisation ‘Ah, this is merely a jolly game of Association Football using these supposed battle-cars!’ You would be absolutely correct. In a nutshell, this game is the love child of Micro Machines and football (or soccer as some may call it).
First, major props to Psyonix for this game. They have taken this simple concept and have tried their damn hardest to make it as playable and fun as possible, while still retaining simple controls. Games of this nature have always been very difficult to pull off, usually because such a mode was an afterthought as a multiplayer mini-game, using the existing physics and move sets to get it to work.
Psyonix have taken a different approach to such previous attempts made in the relevant multiplayer modes in, say, Excitebike 64 and the Super Monkey Ball series. As the game is solely based around the football concept, all sorts of complex maneuvers are included in an attempt to make the game playable, and most importantly, fun. You can double jump, perform flips as you double jump, drive up the side of walls, destroy other cars when going supersonic, handbrake turn, and so on.
The double jump is used in two ways. Merely pressing the jump button in quick succession will raise you higher then a standard jump, while pressing a direction when performing the second jump allows you to perform front and back flips, and left and right barrel rolls. As the ball can bounce fairly high, jumping gives you the added ability to hit the ball in mid-air. Doing the flips allow for some fancy/strategic moves, like hitting the ball in the air with the back of your car as you do a forward flip, sending it flying forwards or blocking an attempt to score. Alternatively, driving past a ball and performing a barrel roll into the side of it may hit it into the goal. It adds a bit of depth to the gameplay, and as previously stated, is an attempt at making the game easier.
As the game name suggests, you can also achieve supersonic speeds. The main method to do this is to use your boost power to accelerate yourself to said speed. Boost pads are littered around each course, giving you a fraction of a second of boost gauge to use, while boost capsules, which refill your boost gauge completely, are a little sparser. Depending on your speed when starting to boost, you will either use up half a boost gauge to break the sound barrier (i.e., from a standing start), or a small tap will allow you to surpass transonic speeds.
When traveling at speeds greater then Mach 1.2, your screen turns a shade of blue. You do not constantly need to boost to stay at supersonic speeds; the cars are great at retaining speed, thus there's less of a mad dash for boost power. Said boost power is in ample supply anyway, and it’s very unlikely you will ever be in a situation where you can’t get any if you actively would like to. Also, going supersonic gives you the ability to destroy cars you ram into, making them respawn back at their goal, hampering their attempts at scoring or saving.
Even though the game can get a little hectic, you’re rarely confused on where the ball is and where you need to get it towards. There is an ever present arrow just above your car showing you the direction of the ball, and the goals themselves glow in the colour of the corresponding teams, with you and your team mates vehicle painted in the same colour as your team to further reduce confusion.
But, and this is a fairly big but, however much this game has been ... (continued on next page)
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