02/10/2020

๐Ÿšด‍♂️๐Ÿšด๐Ÿšด‍♀️ Descenders | Review | PS4 | "Fast, Frantic, Fun and Filthy" ๐Ÿšด‍♂️๐Ÿšด๐Ÿšด‍♀️ @RageSquid #GameDev #IndieGames

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As stated in my previous review for Hotshot racing, this period has seen a lot of vehicular-based games come my way and Descenders was another solid example that does something different with the genre, In particular, using procedural generation as a key part of the gameplay.

At its heart, Descenders is a simple idea – get your bike to the bottom of the hill – but done with some really neat touches. This intrinsically accessible gameplay means that whilst the game can be challenging - and boy, does it get challenging – players of all skill levels can dive in and get involved.
Game Title: Descenders
Developer: RageSquid
Publisher: No More Robots
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Rating: Ice Cool

Beginning in a hub in which you can change the look of your bike, equipment and rider (all of these changes are purely cosmetic, meaning that progress is almost entirely based on player skill, so get practising!) the first stage takes place in the Highlands, where you can pick your own route across the various stages to reach the ‘boss track’. 

Once this has been completed, you then proceed to the next stage (Forest) which will ramp up in difficulty by throwing further, more intense obstacles in your way.
The handling in Descenders initially feels slightly twitchy but the twin-stick controls (whilst L2 brakes, the right stick swings the weight of your bike, which, when used in tandem with the left stick can be much more effective than braking in certain situations) and room for tricks soon becomes second nature. 

It’s exhilarating to be hoofing it at top speed down a slope towards a preposterously steep ramp that leads into a sharp corner, after knifing your way through some winding trees.

The music, cleverly, never ends and becomes a flowing, energetic loop that acts as the soundtrack to your races. The ability to choose your next race, weighing up the difficulty of the track (steepness, amount of curves and tricks) against the chance to unlock a new member of your ‘team’ that grants bonuses such as wider tracks or extra health points become surprisingly intense as you delve deeper in the procedurally-generated action.
Aside from the frame rate not being as smooth as I’d like on the base PS4 (a problem apparently that doesn’t exist elsewhere, although I’m unfortunately unable to personally comment on that) the really clever, approachable design and use of generated tracks gives a lot of longevity here. 

A split-screen mode would be a nice addition but I like the openness in how the game reveals itself as you get better at the core gameplay but also allows anyone to have a crack, I mean, they can just casually cycle around those pesky castle jumps, right? ;)

Right, I’m off to hurtle down a dirt track at 65 MPH with my eyes shut and a nappy on.

❄️RATING: ICE COOL ❄️


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)

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