Nostalgia is a dangerous thing
The modern trend of retro-inspired titles should serve as notice to those who don’t think the 80s are all the way back. Hearing the news that a possible new entry into the once-beloved Twisted Metal franchise (Sony) had us at TBG yearning for a car combat experience on our Nintendo Switch. While the offerings are slim, one stands out above the rest. Gas Guzzlers Extreme, returns from the distant past (2013) and has been unleashed on the Nintendo hybrid. So does it stand out for the right reasons or is this one running on empty?
Developer Gamepires with a publishing assist from FunBox Media have given the Nintendo Switch its first true car combat title. Sure, there are a few that can scratch the itch, but GGE fully embraces the carnage. Race, crash, blast and ram your way to the top of the rankings all while trying to keep yourself in one piece. Boasting 40 tracks and 8 arenas spread out over the course of your career, the diversity certainly appears to be there. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Visually GGE is surprisingly solid
The motion blur added certainly helps with the illusion of speed as you race at breakneck speeds through dusty mountain paths or road courses. The cars (18 unique) are nondescript generic vehicles that subtly favour real-world counterparts. The damage received to your vehicle is well represented as panels dent and crumple or completely fall off. The screen can become littered with carnage making it hard to see at times but in all honesty, this feels more realistic considering this is an arcade racer.
The meat and potatoes of this title comes in the form of the previously mentioned career mode. The more you win and move up the ladder the more unlocks open up for the player. Everything from new tracks and events to car parts and cars themselves is up for grabs. Outside of career, the quick race option opens up a few new modes of play including Defend the Base and Survivor which pit you against legions of the undead. These modes add a fun alternative to the typical races but fail due to one reason. The game lacks multiplayer. You did not misread that, this racing title… from 2013… rereleased in 2021 does not include online or local co-op. This is a major negative for an otherwise fun racing title.
Control-wise GGE is up to the task
Being an arcade racer expect quick controls and loose driving. The added element of weapon pickups and defensive countermeasures adds a nice wrinkle and at times had us feeling Full Auto vibes from the Xbox 360 generation. Switching between the three camera angles players will be quick to notice that the in-car cam is the best when in combat. This is the only view that affords the player a targeting reticle making combat much easier but at the expense of some visual flair.
Audio-wise, GGE does nothing to stand out. The uninspired soundtrack is there almost to help drown out the sounds of engines and gunfire. Even the boost sound effect will sound familiar to veteran arcade racer fans. Adding some decent tunes would have elevated GGE to the next level.
Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a case of mistaken identity. While it tries its best to be a combat racer, it never quite pulls it off. In the end, you have an average racer with combat mechanics. The juvenile use of Puns for names feels a bit too early 2000’s especially in 2021. In the end, Gas Guzzlers is hard to recommend due to its lack of multiplayer. That being said if you are a hermit and are looking for a game that even with its flaws is still fun certainly keep your eyes on the sales charts for this one.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo
Release Date: 28/10/2021
No. of Players: 1
Category: Racing, Shooter
Publisher: Funbox Media
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop
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