If you own a PS3 and have a PSN account, stop reading this, turn on your PS3 and download the demo for Super Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, developed by Psyonix. Once you realize how awesome it is, buy it, then come back and read this review.
Alright, apparently you need some convincing. Battle-Cars brings me back to the days of Excite Bike 64 and Crash Bash. Battle-Cars is as fun as both of those games combined with online play at the bargain price of $15 compared to the $40 (at launch) for each of those other games.
In Battle-Cars, players control their vehicle of choice to smash and destroy opponents, cruise up walls, along ceilings, and bend it like Beckham. When it is all happening simultaneously, you have yourself one AWESOME game!
The game offers exciting single player and multiplayer modes to cater to whatever mood you may be in. Mini-Game mode is a series of 25 challenges varying from scoring as many points as possible within a time limit or defending the a net against a barrage of soccer balls, to smashing as many opposing vehicles as possible within a time limit. All 25 of these challenges rank players from one to five stars. This provides for a fantastic replay value. It took me two hours to complete the 25 challenges but my average was 1.8 stars so I have plenty of work left to do. I won’t spoil the high-tier challenges but trust me, you will be more than happy with just getting by with one star on the last set of challenges.
Tournament mode is the equivalent of a season in other sports games (Mario Strikers). There are thirteen matches to be played that vary in team style. Some are played one-on-one, two-on-one, three-on-three, etc. The computer AI varies with each match. These matches also rank players from one to five stars based on goals scored.
If you are behind on PSN trophies, you can earn them by acquiring the stars. Players can also earn a lot of trophies from online play.
Multiplayer mode can be played offline with friends, with or against computer players, or online. The online mode tracks a ton of stats including goals, assists, wins, wrecks and more. At the end of each match, rewards are listed similar to Stars of the Game in EA sport games. These aren’t recorded in players’ progress, but it’s cool to be mentioned online after a match. Do you think you have what it takes to get the “Best All-Around” Award? Online play also features mics and headsets for all the chatty players out there but so far I haven’t been in a match with anyone who uses this feature.
One of my favorite features is the ability to save replays of matches to upload clips of awesome plays to Youtube. The sense of accomplishment from making a fantastic save while boosting in reverse along the crease or scoring a one-touch goal with a double jump from halfcourt is increased substantially when the moment can be saved and posted on the internet. Once the match is over and the game is saved, players can edit the video. The point-of-view and angles can be changed for optimal viewer satisfaction. Check out this video that I made for you to see the game in action.
The only thing to complain about in this game is the clunky user interface. The response time in the menu lags for about half to one full second for each button press. Fortunately, if players are taking advantage of the online mode, they won’t be spending much time in the menu. If they are trying to get the last of the one hundred stars in the mini games, they may get annoyed whenever they try to restart.
Some might be disappointed with the current selection of three arenas but I don’t see it as an issue. The game focuses around the players and the ball. The gameplay is exciting enough to distract you from even thinking about the limited selection. The good news is that since this is Psyonix first big game they are looking to do things right and plan are working on a lot of free add-on content. The first bonus arena is due out the end of this month to complement the European release. The European release means more competition online. SWEET!
The music selection is as limited as the arenas but once again I emphasize that gameplay is everything. There is the option for custom soundtracks if necessary. The sound tracks aren’t bad, there just isn’t enough variety. However, the sound effects are great and players will be more focused on sending the ball into the goal anyways.
I’m not sure if I mentioned this yet or not, but this game is ridiculously addicting and fun. Now for the final verdict…
Bland menus. Car designs and arenas fit the game pretty well.
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Rocket-powered cars destroying each other take soccer to a whole new level, and it's awesome!
Not much variety in music. Sound effects are what you would expect.
25 mini games with 100 stars to earn + a tournament mode with over 50 stars to earn + the PSN trophies = hours upon hours of addiction
The game isn't perfect in design, but if given a chance the outstanding gameplay will not go unrealized.