Sometimes when playing a game with a unique concept (such as a horror-themed racing game) it just becomes painfully obvious that the developer neglected to take full advantage of the subject matter. Horror Racing is one such game. It’s not an altogether bad game, but it ends up feeling generic because the setting just isn’t fun enough.
The biggest problem with the game is that although it’s called Horror Racing, there’s practically nothing to distinguish it from any other combat racing license. The extent of the ‘horror’ part of it is that some of the characters seem like some kind of monsters. But only two out of the five characters, a hairy monster and a giant eyeball, even fit that theme.
The others are a slightly disgruntled rabbit, a grandmother with ‘tude, and a woman who apparently shops at Hot Topic. Furthermore, the characters play very similarly. They have different cars, and each car has a different engine speed and amount of armor, but you probably won’t really notice.
The hamburger monster in the background is the best part.
The track selection doesn’t help things, either. Each track is essentially the same, only with turns in different spots. The scenery changes once in a while, but given that this is a game called Horror Racing, one would think that the tracks could get a little more interesting.
We’re not asking for much, but it would have been nice to see a creative, horror-themed obstacle or two in the path. Even something so simple as a trap in the road or a pit of some kind would do. As it stands there are only three potential things to do: drive straight, turn, or shoot.
Thankfully though, there is some fun to be found in the combat aspects of Horror Racing. On a moment-to-moment basis, it’s fun to try to destroy your opponents with well-placed landmines or a perfectly timed rocket. If you’re just trying to kill a few minutes, you’ll have some fun trying to take out enemy racers. If you’re taking this at all seriously though, and want to win races and progress through the game, things get a little murkier.
Get equipped with missiles.
Due to a couple of factors, choosing to fight with other racers and trying to destroy them actually hurt your ability to win the race. One reason is that you can only shoot straight, so unless an enemy is directly in front of you, you’ll have to swerve to hit them, derailing you from your path and slowing you down or even causing you to crash.
The other reason is that this game has some seriously nasty rubber band AI, meaning that when you get in the lead, the other racers will speed up to keep things interesting. Even if you do manage to take out an enemy, they’ll be right back on your tail and shooting at you within a span of three seconds.
You could do worse than Horror Racing, but you could also do a lot better. If all you’re looking for is a way to blow a few minutes here and there in a racing game with rocket launchers, this might be worth a shot for you. However, if you’re going to be annoyed by cheap rubber band AI, a relatively steep learning curve, and bland settings, then it would probably be best to pass on this one.