Living life a quarter-mile at a time
Whether it’s fast and furious or asbo and curious, street racing has always had a strong appeal since reaching mainstream heights in the early two-thousands. Many a teenager had delusions of grandeur as they tricked out their Vauxhall Nova with fluffy dice, Kenwood stereos and even subwoofers in the name of earning street cred by competing in high octane races, or more realistically, sitting in a Tesco car park listening to Dr Dre 2001 until their mum text them to come home and to pick up some milk on the way.
Over the years the street racing scene has reared its sparkly rimmed head many times in games with various interpretations from hardcore assaults on busy streets to more laid back romps through famous locations with varying results and now, Electro Ride is here to add an extra dose of bling power to racing fans collections. Offering some old school arcadey action across three core modes, Story Mode, Quick Race and Splitscreen and three core events, Quick Race, Last Man Standing and Ghost Mode to keep you entertained, so let’s take a closer look.
Light it up!
Right from the start, we really enjoyed the presentation, the moody noir style graphics popped with the emphasis on neon highlights to create a striking backdrop for some racing action. Look’s, as it turned out, can be deceiving, as what followed was a rather lacklustre experience that felt too generic and overly difficult to really be enjoyed. Jumping straight into story mode we were presented with a world map filled with locations to race in followed by a garage that currently housed one car but had plenty of room for the unlockable vehicles we later obtained by completing events. We were able to select which colour neon highlights we wanted our vehicle to have, lovely jubbly, now it was off to the race, with a countdown of three two one go, we were off.
Now being longterm fans of titles like Wipeout and Mario Kart we couldn’t help but notice the brightly coloured collectables on the track, with a twirl of the moustache we collected one expecting a potential speed boost of maybe some nitro build-up but no, it just changed our car from blue to yellow. What is the point in this you might be wondering? well, as it turns out there are sections of the tracks which have coloured strips and if you drive over one that is the same colour as you, then you get a speed boost! Right on! The only problem is, most of the time the change colour orb things are right in front of the corresponding strips so you rarely need to worry about making sure you are on the right one which takes away any real strategic element to this mechanic.
Do you now what D.K stands for?
Outside of bright boost strips the racing itself was fairly generic but extremely challenging due to the absurd steering/drifting mechanic that was more sensitive than a vegan at a barbeque. Steering too heavily would force our vehicle to swank its tale end out and send us into some kind of Michael Jackson style spin that usually resulted in flying off the track and having to be reset. Attempting any form of steering while boosting over the neon strips resulted in less control than an ice skater with pins and needles, once again resulting in unceremonious crashes and track resets. Now granted, this may be by design and Electro Ride could be intended as some kind of skill fest racer only intended for the super hardcore among gamers but if so it wasn’t obvious. Drift king? don’t bet on it.
As avid readers will know, TBG is nothing if not perseverant and in the interest of in-depth reviewing, we did push on through these issues and eventually managed to find some kind of middle ground with which to play and progress further into the story mode (yes, it was called easy mode just stop going on about it). Unfortunately, even with unlocking better vehicles and mastering the boost start mechanic the whole experience just never seemed to gel which was a shame as the presentation of Electro Ride really is quite striking but aside from the clean visuals, the hud itself was blissfully subtle too. On the left of the screen we had our lap counter with a lap progress bar underneath and these were complemented with a position counter and lap time counter that were unintrusive but handy to keep an eye on.
As you might expect with a title focused on “Electro” and “Neon” there must be a pretty saucy soundtrack to go with it and you’d be right! No there are no licensed tracks here, doubtless, that would have taken up the developers full budget, but the tracks that are on hand are pretty dam slick and do a great job of complimenting the graphical designs. While cruising along and enjoying the track designs and nodding along to the music it was bittersweet to see such great concepts overshadowed by ropey gameplay but thankfully, the loading times were fairly minimal and the presentation was a hit whether playing in handheld or docked mode.
Electro Ride was a promising bit of fun that fell short on execution, we don’t want to knock the developer as this was a solo project and we have every respect for those working hard to fuel our hobby. That being said, outside of awesome presentation there isn’t much to enjoy here and we feel the majority of gamers will likely give up due to frustrations.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Nintendo, Xbox
Release Date: 27/11/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Racing, Arcade
Developer: Slywester Osik
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop