It was Ridge Racer Type 4, back in ’99, that finally got the message through to me that you don’t have to love cars to love racing games. Since then, I’ve played all kinds and thoroughly enjoyed them, but I’ve discovered that I have certain general tastes. I tend to avoid realistic racers in the favour of pure, white-knuckle, arcade-y racing thrills.
Whether we’re talking psychedelic futuristic racers like F-Zero and Wipeout, drift-happy street racing like Ridge Racer, Midnight Club and certain Need for Speed titles, or the beautiful chaos of Motorstorm – as long as it’s not boring and realistic, I’ll give it a try. I also have a soft spot for those simple, quirky little racers we haven’t seen too many of over the last 15 years. Things like Iron Man Offroad, Micro Machines, Rock ‘n’ Roll Racing, Revolt and Superkarts, you know? Cute little titles where there’s not a lot more to them apart from accelerating and steering.
So, when I saw that there was a MotorStorm game on the PSV, I assumed it was another standard game in the series and didn’t pay too much attention. I like MotorStorm – don’t get me wrong – but I still have to get around to finishing the others. It wasn’t until I was browsing the PSV’s store that I saw that it costs only R55! Intrigued, I looked closer, and noticed that it was, in fact, one of those rare, quirky little mini-racers I enjoy. The RC clearly stands for “radio control” – clearly I’m the only one who didn’t figure that out the first time I heard the title.
So I bought it (hell, it was only R55) and gave it a decent play. It’s exactly what I though it would be, a simple little racer in which you race radio controlled replicas of the popular MotorStorm vehicles, like trucks, muscle cars, rally cars and buggies, around cute little tracks themed on the previous three games. Each type of vehicle has wildly different handling characterisitics that will affect how you approach each turn on each track and… that’s about it. Seriously, there is nothing more to this game than accelerator control and proper cornering. There’s no boosting, no destruction, no weapons, nothing. The only addition is a button to reset your little car to the track if you get stuck on scenery or end up on your roof.
General opinion seems to be kind of down on the game, and I’m not sure why. Maybe people expected more, or maybe they can’t get used to the idea of controlling an RC car from a fixed, floating camera. I didn’t have any trouble with it. I’m a child of the video game age, after all, and I find it to be a fiendishly addictive little gem.
There are enough races to enter to keep you busy, plenty of cars and tracks to unlock, and online leaderboards and ghost data to keep things competitive and interesting – and for R55, you could certainly do a lot worse.