28/09/2018

๐Ÿš™๐Ÿš— Review: Chiki Chiki Boxy Racers "A budget racer fun for large groups in small doses" ๐Ÿš—๐Ÿš™ #GameDev #IndieGame

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Developer: Pocket
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Top-down arcade racers have always been a great genre for parties, most gamers in their thirties and forties will have memories of booting open the arcade doors and strutting  straight over to the triple steering-wheel sporting ‘Iron Man’ Ivan Stewart’s Super Off Road or huddling around a CRT TV hooked up to a Mega Drive, listening to the booming midi drum beats that heralded the arrival of Codemasters’ Micro Machines and there’s probably not an Amiga owner in the world without a copy of Acid Software’s Super Skidmarks in their game stack. 
The genre has turned up on most consoles to varying degrees of success. The PS2 / Xbox brought us Mashed and the criminally overlooked Wrecked (I yearn for a follow-up) rocked up on the PS3, it’s a genre in which a surprising amount of fun can be elicited from even the most average game, a game that is almost worthless in single player mode can be elevated far beyond it’s status when played with friends.

Chiki Chiki Boxy Racers isn’t a genre-changer and at its price point, that shouldn’t be expected. It does offer a surprising amount of modes for the low cost and whilst flawed it is fun in small blasts.
The colourful, if basic voxel graphics are matched up with a soundtrack seemingly piped in straight from circa 2001 which is reminiscent of Rumble Racing (A sequel please, EA…without the commentator this time) and whilst dated, the gentle drums and rolling music are quite laid-back and give off an accessible, sunny vibe. With over twenty cars to choose from (unlockable through successfully completing races) and fifteen tracks, the game feels quite generous but it is upon actually racing that the limitations of the game reveal themselves. The tracks are split into three different locations but all feel flat and generic, this issue can be side-lined somewhat due to the inherent fun in multiplayer but a far more serious issue pretty much breaks the game…
As a single-screen racer, the game mechanics work so that if you drop off the bottom of the screen, your car is placed back up in the centre of the screen so that you can carry on. As there is no point system in the game and as such, no real penalty for trailing in last, it’s entirely possible to literally put your pad down and not race until the final lap / stretch and then just overtake the person in first to win. When we discovered this, the fact that it pretty much doesn’t matter how well you race, just who is over the line first at the end, it sucked a lot of the fun out of the racing mode for us (although perhaps some players won’t mind this) and so we tried out the battle modes instead.
There are four battle modes; the first is where your cars are in a small area in which a fruit machine spins in the background, showering down coins which are to be driven over to be collected. My friend (Hello Chris) won these rounds by essentially spinning in a circle, somehow collecting two or three times more than the rest of us who were driving ‘properly’. Again, it felt like it cheapened the experience.
The second game requires the racers to paint the floor of the arena by driving around in their cars. This was fun and resulted in some serious bashing action, the winner being the person who has the highest percentage of their colour when the timer runs out.
The third game is football-styled in which there are three balls (two worth ten points and a smaller ball worth 30) which need to be knocked into goals at either end. The main issue that affects this and the final mini-game is how slow each car is when reversing, it is painful to need to re-adjust your car as quickly as possible only to watch it slowly trundle backwards as if on a slight slope with a dodgy handbrake.

The final mini-game is a straight-up battle mode in which you just need to knock the other players off the arena edge, each one having three lives, basic, sparse…but always good fun.
These modes are nice additions, although only the battle and painting modes are likely to get any replay beyond initially trying them out. The game also runs at 30 fps as opposed to 6o which is a shame as a little extra smoothness in racing games goes a long way and Chiki Chiki Boxy Racers is hardly a CPU-throttling power monster so a higher framerate feels like it shouldn’t be out of scope.
Summary
Chiki Chiki Boxy Racers is a flawed but fun game that is mainly worth it for the multiplayer support (up to eight players) as the single player mode exists to mainly unlock the extra vehicles. As a budget game, it clearly has limitations and some design choices feel like mis-steps but with a load of friends it’s a fun title, if not one you’ll be playing in six months’ time.
๐Ÿ’ง❄️ RATING: MELTING ❄️๐Ÿ’ง
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)