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Review: Cubed Rally Racer

May 28, 2010


Return to the classic NES style racing with Cubed Rally Racer. It's a 3D isometric rally racer described as RC Pro-Am meeting Canabalt. You race through randomly generated tracks trying to make it to the finish line only possible by collecting gas cans to make sure your car doesn't run out of gas.


On your way you will face all types of obstacles with curves, jumps, switchbacks, bridges, ships, gophers, and cows. The game is split up into sections with each new section lengthening the course. Each course is randomly generated so new sections just means more random generation. There are forty different types of sections in total. When you replay a race there is a ghost car of your best run to know how your time compares. The game includes OpenFeint for online high scores for single race and total score plus achievements. At the end of each race you can challenge any OpenFeint user to beat your score on the same course.

The Good

Cubed Rally Racer is first and foremost, fun. Every single race is different, and lasts only a couple minutes to be a perfect pick up and play game. As you progress you'll face longer courses with the same elements so it will feel like more of an achievement to make it through. Once you reach higher sections you will go through a course multiple times losing in certain areas, and replaying them knowing what you did wrong. The good thing is that after you crash or fall off in a race you can replay or get a whole new track with brand new challenges. The game is definitely packed with challenges as you drive through multiple switchbacks, and then get ready to swerve through trees, make jumps, and dodge cows. The toughest part is the rate at which obstacles appear with new ones emerging constantly throughout the course so there is never a dull moment. You just make it past the ship only to come across a group of cows. The greatest obstacle is the course itself which is situated in the sky, or you can fly off the course at any time. If the obstacles weren't tough enough you have to be conscious of your gas, because if you run out you'll have to restart the race. The gas cans are tough to collect based on their positioning, and how precise you need to line up your car with the can. The more gas you have at the end though the more points you score, as each can is worth points. There are basic red cans, but also yellow cans which provide a speed boost which is necessary for some jumps. You're score is based on the distance traveled, gas cans collected, gas remaining, and bonus meter remaining. You then can compete for an individual race high score, or your total score for all your races. The game is a definite shout out to the old school, and the controls fit perfectly giving you a gas pedal, and two arrow buttons for steering. It takes a bit to get used to the controls, but soon you'll get the hang of it, to just tap the arrows to turn, and not hold them. They're not as easy as possible, but still manageable, and fit perfectly with the theme of the game. They allow you to skid around corners, and maneuver through obstacles once you get used to them. The visuals are the most obvious connection to the past, but are still smooth by today's standards. The game provides 3D 8-bit graphics for the course, car, and all the obstacles and it all looks good. The game is so reminiscent of the past similar to Canabalt and Hook champ. Probably the best aspect of the game is the randomness, so no two courses play the same. Rally racing is definitely fun as well, as you compete against time rather than other racers providing a different challenge. You will find yourself spending plenty of time with this game with high intrinsic replayability also similar to Canabalt. The game has the special style where when you lose your first thought is to replay, and finish the race.

The Bad

The biggest complaint is the controls because there is a learning curve. It's a great connection to the past, but another option should be included whether it be tilt or an onscreen wheel. The controls are just a little frustrating, and you will lose a couple times because of the controls which should never happen. On top of that you need to be precise in where you press because if you don't tap exactly on the button the game won't register it. The game features no soundtrack, so you're just left with the sound of your little car's engine. The game does have tons of replayability, but the new sections just make the courses longer so you're facing the same elements with the same game style, but just for a longer period of time. The game also doesn't feature a pause button, so once you start a race you need to finish it without lifting your head or you will sacrifice time.

The Verdict

Cubed Rally Racer is definitely fun as you race through a course in the sky with a slight mistake having you start all over. The game features tons of different, and humorous obstacles to have you on your toes the entire race which are luckily in short bursts for perfect pick up and play. Every course is random, and the game features a great connection to the past in terms of controls, visuals, and overall style. Cubed Rally Racer is a should buy for $1.99 that will give you tons of replayability, with a delicate balance of fun and challenge.

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