BlazeRush is a fast-paced combat racer with a simple control set. The left analogue stick moves your vehicle, the X button triggers your boost, and the square button launches your currently equipped weapon. The game dons an isometric perspective, making the whole experience something like Motorstorm RC meets TNT Racers. The game supports four local players and up to eight players online (hybrid couch/online). Friends can join in and help you play through most of the Career. It’s a guitar riff blaring, dubstep pumpin, wild ride while it lasts.
Playing through the Career mode will get you acclimated to the controls, the race types, and the various weapons/boosts. No matter what you’re playing, as you race along the track, crates drop from the sky and can be picked up to equip weapons or boosters. There are about half a dozen weapons ranging from a close-range pulse to a homing missile and three different boosters. Weapon crates fall anywhere on the track while booster crates only fall behind the number one car. It’s an inoffensive rubberbanding technique that doesn’t make the game feel cheap at all. One aspect of the game that I really like is the in-game medals that are awarded for completing specific tasks. If you boost off of the track, for example, you’ll get the Leeroy medal. If you knock an opponent off by contact force, you’ll earn the Ram Jam medal. Medals earn points and also keep the game fun by popping up next to your name throughout races. The three types include a regular old race, a king of the hill variant, and my personal favorite, Death Race.
In King of the Hill, you jockey to hold the front position for 50 seconds, looping around a track until someone wins. Death Race features a spiked bulldozer that hurries toward the cars from behind. Getting hit by the bulldozer grants every living player a point and knocks you out of the race until the next round. Staying alive for a full round of four racers, then, grants you three points. The game ends when one player reaches 15 points. I particularly enjoy Death Race for a few reasons. First off, you don’t have to win every single round in order to win the overall game. That allows for a bit of wiggle room, which is nice in a game that features a randomized lot of potentially deadly weapons. If you boost off of the track by mistake, no big deal, get up and race again. The other reason I like Death Race is because it cleverly deals with one of the game’s biggest detractors – its camera. Since all players are on the screen at once, it can sometimes be tough to find your car if you’re in first or last place. Zooming far ahead in Death Race pulls the bulldozer faster, dispatching your opponents in the process.
The Career mode includes 53 Races over five planets. The varied locations include a jungle planet, an ice planet, a desert planet, and a couple of others. Each race has three tiered accomplishments (cups) to unlock, and some races have up to five. There are about 15 cars to unlock, each a slight statistical variation of a former version. The cars’ main statistics are mass, acceleration, and handelability. A car with more mass sticks to the track when boosting or hit by an attack. The other stats are fairly self-explanatory. BlazeRush‘s graphics are clear and smooth, with no hiccups to the framerate whatsoever. The total field of view is relatively small; a focus on the course and its background environment at the forefront. With a well-timed hit, cars smoke and fly off of the track before exploding into a bursting firework. These explosions are especially neat when the car flies toward the camera (the screen). The soundtrack is a rocking combination of electrical guitars and pounding bass drums; an edgy dubstep collection of tunes.
BlazeRush is a package of simple, frenetic fun. There are a total of 209 cups to collect in Career mode. For reference, I finished the game with about 170, starting off with a perfectionist’s spirit then simply finishing races towards the end. The final race is a great twist, one that I sort of wished would pop up more than once. Online mode can be a toss up. Besides for the couple of test matches I played with Chris, the game lagged in a way that made it unplayable online (delayed weapon pickups/launches, etc.). There were days where I waited in a lobby for about an hour before one person joined. The sparse community is a testament to the fact that the game released on PS3 at a time when most people are already playing PS4/Vita games. I think the game would have seen more success if it were released on PS4/Vita, but I’m sure the development process over at Targem was focused on a PS3 release. Right game, wrong time/console. Give it a go if you like top-down, single-stick racers, especially if you have a few local friends to play with.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Hybrid couch/online play
- Fast-paced, fun
What I Dislike:
- Dead online multiplayer
- Camera, every once in a while