One of the things about my beloved racing genre is that there is such an array of different types of racers. There are the hardcore simulators, like Forza Motorsport and Project Cars. There are also the more arcade-style racers such as Forza Horizon and Need for Speed. Then you have games like Riptide GP and Monster Jam: Crush It that have you racing things other than cars. There are the racing games with puzzle elements like Trials and Trackmania Turbo. One type of game we haven’t seen much of recently is the top-down racer with a pixel-art style. Sure, there’s the superb Mantis Burn Racing, but that goes for a very realistic style. Well, if you are after a pixel-art style top-down racer, you will be interested in Super Pixel Racers.
Super Pixel Racers is the debut Xbox title from, South Korean developer, 21c Ducks. Like I already alluded to, the game is a pixel-art style top-down racer. Controls are kept particularly simple with the left thumbstick steering your car, ‘A’ starting a drift, and ‘B’ activating the nitro. There’s no braking as such. Instead, you just put your car into a drift to slow your vehicle and help you get around corners. This system works surprisingly well. I thought for a while that ‘A’ was actually just a brake, but any steering inputs do force you into a skid.
The pixel-art style actually works pretty well. The animation on the cars is fairly limited. You are normally so focused on upcoming corners and the cars around you, though, that you don’t really notice it. The same can be said of the crowds. They are animated, but you are so focused on the racing that you don’t have time to appreciate it. There are some dust cloud effects when you drift, but these are fairly rudimentary. There are also, what I assume are, sun dots at various points on the screen. I have to say that these didn’t appeal to me and just seemed to get in the way.
There are 13 tracks to race around. These are spiced up with different events such as rallycross, time trial, land rush, and takedown. There are also several classes of vehicle, with their own events as well as some trophy events. Completing all of the events would take you some considerable time. However, the balancing of the game is a little awry, and you will find yourself needing to grind through races over and over to earn enough money to upgrade your vehicles. It’s not an issue in the first few classes. As you go on though, you will need to do some serious upgrading. The cost for these becomes considerable, and the rewards just aren’t enough to do this with just one playthrough of each event. This may well be a leftover from the game’s roots as a mobile title. However, it could also just be down to a lack of QA testing.
Super Pixel Racing is a decent little racer. As a budget title it’s not going up against games like Forza, but when it’s fellow top-down racer, Mantis Burn Racing is at exactly the same price point it has some serious competition. Unfortunately, it does fall a little short. If you are wanting a pixel-art racer, though, this is probably the game for you. There’s a lot of racing to be had going through the career, and there are various multiplayer options. Super Pixel Racing may not lead the pack, but it is by no means about to be lapped.
Founding Xbox Enthusiast member and serious guitar player. Basically, Steve rocks. Need we say more?