REVIEW: Electro Ride: The Neon Racing

Dec
15

REVIEW: Electro Ride: The Neon Racing

A beautifully presented arcade racer which unfortunately doesn’t deliver a decent racing experience.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player,splitscreen
Genre: Racing,Retro,Arcade
Developer: Sylwester Osik
Publisher: Forestlight Games,
PlayWay S.A.
Release date: 6 December 2020

Intro

Electro Ride looks amazing from its stylish cutscenes between races, to its beautifully designed environments. The game is a little disappointment in the driving stakes however, with an overly sensitive car which makes it feel light and unrealistic.

I have been impressed with the developer’s commitment to improving the game and have already changed my marking once thanks to improvements from my criticisms. I am sure there will be further updates and improvements on the way.

Gameplay🕹️

Story Mode

There are only five countries to race in. Each country has three tracks. The first track is always first past the post and you must win the race to carry on to the next race.

The second race is an elimination race where the last person on each lap is eliminated.

The third race is a boss battle between you and one other opponent. If you win you get a choice of four cars to keep an put in your garage. There are a total of twenty cars to race each with their own attributes in acceleration, v Max and steering.

In story mode, after finishing first in the race, you are presented with a short cutscene introducing the next race.

After completing the three laps in each of the five countries, you are crowned champion and are able to race on any of the tracks completed. You’ll also have five new cars in your garage to race but you can’t use any of these cars in the story mode. You’ll need to make up another profile and start again with the basic car.

Quick Race

You can race any of the tracks in time attack, last man standing or ghost mode.

Split Screen

You and a friend can race any track in time attack mode or last man standing.

Apart from story mode you can choose the difficulty of the opponent from easy, medium or hard; the number of laps, up to 24; and the number of opponents up to 10.

During the race, your car can change colour depending on what star you run over on track. There are three different colours; pink, blue and yellow. There are corresponding patches of colour on the track. Depending on what colour your car is, if you travel over the same-coloured patch, you instantly get a speed boost for a second or two.

There are four different camera angles to choose from but I found the in-car views to be very difficult to navigate in.

During the race you will drive through numerous checkpoints but I do not have a clue what these are designed to do. There are no split times, which a checkpoint usually records so I am baffled by their inclusion.

The car is quite easy to crash due to its light handling. Most of the time crashes are quite forgiving and you can bounce off walls and even flip over or jump in the air and still carry on racing. If you do end up on your back like a turtle, you can instantly reset the car and continue. There is no time penalty. The car does not receive any damage on impact and the car doesn’t drive any worse.

You can play using keyboard or controller.

Graphics 🕹️

Visuals are very pleasing with highly detailed backgrounds for an indie racer and some stylish cut scenes between races in story mode. The graphics are certainly the highlight of the game.

Sound🎵

There is a nice synthwave soundtrack which creates mood and atmosphere. I thought the tunes whilst racing were a bit lackluster and could have been a bit more exciting. I don’t remember there being a huge selection of different racing tunes and you are not allowed to select the ones you prefer.

Overall Impressions

There is a beautiful retro look and feel about Electro Ride. Neon-soaked graphics with a professional synthwave soundtrack got me quite excited.

The car is a little hard to control. It is far too sensitive and does sometimes struggle to stay in a straight line. Going around corners takes a while to get used to as the car has so much grip and responds so quickly that you’ll crash into barriers before the bend begins.

Since the last update the easy mode, where opponents waited for you, has been replaced with a much more recognisable system and opponents behave like they want to win but are just slower.

The medium and hard difficulties are more demanding.

On medium difficulty, opponents do not wait for you but they are designed to always be close to you. It is extremely difficult to build up any lead in the race even if you are making no mistakes and hitting all the boost accelerators on track. This means on lap four or five if you crash at the end of the race after leading all the way, it is inevitable that you will be passed by the whole pack and then have to start the race all over again because you didn’t finish first. It can feel very frustrating, especially when it is down to the over sensitive controls or odd behaviour by an opponent.

On hard difficulty, the cars are designed to race to their limits and it is a challenge to win. You’ll need to put in a perfect race to keep up with the leader, but I’d only advise playing the hard difficulty after you’ve mastered the controls and got a feel for the car movements.

I think the races are too long. A race generally takes between seven and ten minutes, and if you don’t satisfy the criteria, which is usually finish first, then you have to race again. I would have much rather have seen more tracks and venues, but shorter laps. There’s no need to have four or five laps. Keep it short and sweet and have two lap races but more of them. Five destinations is just not enough.

I also think the game would improve if it had general traffic on the course. It is a city racer afterall. None of the tracks are particularly demanding and most of them you can fly around at top speed. Even if you do crash, the car is very forgiving and most of the time you’ll be fine. If traffic was added and/or blocked lanes, I think this would add to the difficulty.

The game undoubtedly looks polished and stylish however. There is a short story which doesn’t contain any substance but looks amazing and adds a bit of class to the proceedings. The story elements don’t flow very well into the race though and they do just feel like a pointless exercise, even if they do look nice.

The tracks are extremely well designed. I enjoyed driving around slowly just admiring the view. There are so many nice features and landmarks to observe that it feels a shame to race around and miss them. The tracks change in height often, with lots of turns in varying degrees of difficulty. The speed boosters added a tactical element to the game in rare circumstances but I thought these didn’t give you enough boost. Often a rival would shoot past me even though I had just hit one.

Verdict

Electro Ride looks and sounds very good. It is attractive and feels stylish and retro. As a racing game it is enjoyable but not particularly challenging. The controls are far too sensitive, the laps are too long and there aren’t enough courses. The game is being continually updated however and I’m sure it will only get better.

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