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26Feb/100

Xbox Live Indie Game First Impression - MotorHEAT

Alright, I'll be perfectly honest here. I'm not that big of a fan of racing games on the Xbox Live Indie Games. They are either crap, run off the same engine every single time (nothing wrong with it, just it gives everything the same basic feeling.) and, with a few exceptions they don't have any multiplayer of ANY kind, local or otherwise. And unfortunately, in that regard, this game is no different. I downloaded the trial figuring this : "I know I'm going to hate this. I haven't done an Xbox Indie Game thing on my site in a while, this oughta be fun to just rip apart at the seams." And you can KIND OF consider this a review ... but given the fact I haven't spent much time with it I personally wouldn't consider this a full review given the fact I haven't really delved into it much.

This game is from the same guys who brought us Little Racer and Wool. Neither of which I'm a huge fan of. Wool I don't quite understand, though I really like the graphical style ... and Little Racers ... I have a bit of a bias against overhead racers with cars anyway. Not to say it isn't done fairly well, because it is, it's just not my kind of game.

The first thing I noticed was the fact it isn't multiplayer. That's a strike against it period no matter whether it's good or bad. There's no excuse not to have multiplayer, especially in a game like this. The other thing I noticed upon downloading it is the fact it's a VERY small download at 25MB. Given the screenshots and the video I've seen of the game, that tells me there isn't a whole lot to it. And I was right ... there's only ONE car (which you can customize the color of to a very large extent) and ONE game mode.

Tgree of my favorite racing games PERIOD are Outrun, the original Need for Speed : Underground and Burnout : Revenge. And, even though MotorHEAT only has that one mode, it takes great elements of those two games and mashes them together. In Need for Speed Underground, you got extra points for cutting it REALLY close to other cars. A "Near Miss" if I remember correctly. And in Burnout : Revenge, one of the ways you can get boost is by ramming into the ass end of other cars. In MotorHEAT, it mixes elements of all three of those games in that one game mode it has.

You don't race against anyone or anything but the clock. It has the typical racing game controls, but this game has NO brakes. At all. It doesn't need them. Your entire purpose is just to barrel through traffic, cutting it close to other cars to keep your boost meter filled up and go as far as you possibly can. That's it. There are cubes along the road for various powerups like invincibility and a boost powerup that gives it to you whether you're anywhere near the other cars or not. And a few more, but honestly I can't remember what they are at the moment.

But where the other two releases by these guys have been somewhat of a disappointment to me, DAMN is this game fun. If you're looking for realism ... you're not going to find it here. What you're going to find, once you get the hang of how to play the game, is an insanely fast paced driving game with tight control, great graphics (especially considering it's small size) and decent sound.

If you like the Burnout series of games and the over the top speed it offers, and games like the original Outrun where you just race against the clock, this isn't a bad way to spend 240 MS Space Bucks from what I've played so far.

It is a big disappointment that this doesn't have online multiplayer. Playing against someone in this would be a BLAST, and it could use 1 or 2 more game modes ... maybe with some actual racing. This is one of those indie games that has a really cool idea that doesn't seem finished. It's just missing some things that would make it stellar. In fact, now that I think about it, it feels like the demo for a full game due to the fact it has so little. But what IS there is damned fun.

But, give it a try. Like I said, it's damned well worth the 240 points as it is, even if it doesn't entirely feel finished.

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