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15May/100

Xbox Live Indie Game Review – Avatar Racedrome

xboxboxart Yet another avatar game. But this time it’s a racing game that’s surprisingly good. Avatar Racedrome is a little 80 point game that, while a little limited, provides a great casual racing experience in a small package.

You get 16 reversible tracks, 2 player split screen play, up to 8 players over Xbox Live and your choice between a single race or a Championship mode.

Now, other than a practice mode, that’s really all you get, and don’t be expected a Forza here. It doesn’t even try to be like that thankfully. If it was trying to be like Forza, being that it has the avatars it would fail miserably.

Let’s get into this sucker though and try to pretend you really care what I think.

screenshot1 Graphically, it’s pretty solid. The avatars look like, well … they look like avatars. And the rest of the game matches that overall look not going for any type of realism. More like a game should be. A game. The one car that you get in it looks good, and you can choose different colors for them and flags to signify where you’re from or where you’d like to BE from. The tracks look good, though they don’t really do anything to differentiate themselves that much. There are avatars in the stands. Though they don’t do anything but sit there. But you won’t notice them since you’re going to be too busy racing around. You have your choice of 3 different camera angles for your car, including a cockpit view. The music is excellent, the sounds … while somewhat light in that department do their job well. Though that sound of the cars smacking into each other and the walls is grating, irritating and way too loud.

screenshot3 The gameplay is solid. The cars control well, the physics are decent enough for an arcade racer. Being that there is only one type of car in the entire game, they all control the exact same way. It has a decent sense of speed, though when you hit the wall you come to a dead stop and the car’s acceleration is terrible. Ever drove a stick and took off in 2nd gear? That’s pretty much what it feels like. It doesn’t detract from the game too much, but it is pretty irritating. And while it does support up to 8 players over Xbox Live, the collisions are turned off so it turns into more of a “Who can navigate the track the best and the fastest” rather than a battle like it is in single player.

screenshot4 8.0 - The only real complaints I’ve got with this game are justified by the price of it. There aren’t a lot of game modes, there’s only one car, the frame rate isn’t always solid (but it never hinders gameplay). But the modes that are there are pretty fun, the racing is nice and solid and there’s online play for a mere 80 points. And it really reminds me of the awesome Trackmania game in terms of it’s presentation and the overall feel of it. Definitely worth picking up regardless.

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