Publisher: Sometimes You
Genre: Rhythm Action, Racing
Platform: PlayStation 4
Age Rating: Pegi 3
Release Date: 29/01/2019
A code was provided for review purposes.
Music Racer reminds me of when Guitar Hero hype was rampant and it seemed like rhythm action games were unstoppable? Well, I remember it as a time of shame and inferiority. I’ll tell you for why, I ain’t got no rhythm.
Even with an inability to master a beat, I can’t deny the power of a good rhythm action game. Music Racer is a uniquely charming title in the genre, it is quick off the line and starts strong, but sadly falls to the back of the pack in the final corners.
Music Racer did a powerslide of neon synth and retrowave graphics onto the PlayStation 4 in January of 2019. The game features: 25 vehicles to choose from, 14 stages to race across, a library of 29 music tracks, 3 game modes plus a cinematic and camera mode.
Quick Off The Starting Line
The game’s concept is simple. Pick a vehicle, decide on a stage, select the music, then race off down a tron-like track of kaleidoscopic colours and mind bending patterns. Imagine Rainbow Road has been up for a week in a synth music binge and you’re about there.
Music Racer’s game-play is even simpler. The task is navigating a vehicle across three lanes, picking up markers (beats) and avoiding obstacles. The game-play is so limited that it can be played with one hand. There is some variation and challenge across the game modes but not enough to add new dimensions to the game overall.
There are three main play modes: standard, zen and hard. Standard is as described above, zen mode removes all obstacles from the track, and hard mode makes hitting an obstacle instant game-over. There are enough differences for these to qualify as being separate game modes – but only just.
Ready, Set, Adjust Music Racer
Music Racer features a number of adjustable settings: visual blur and bloom, camera shake and camera distance. Having a play with these and finding a personal preference is an important step in enjoying your experience.
The default settings have the camera distance set at its minimum, this makes seeing the oncoming beats difficult and frustrating as they fly past in a blur soon after seeing them. The starting stage is especially bad for this issue, as it is one of the more twisty stages, losing sight of the markers as soon as an incline is hit (even though the track is transparent).
Much more could be done with Music Racer, a few additions such as adding button prompts in conjunction with hitting the beats, moving obstacles, or greater variation in vehicle handling. These would elevate the game into a title with actual challenge and longevity, while getting right hands in on the action too.
Something Missing Under The Hood
Steam’s version of Music Racer has an extra function, which allows use of your library of music in the game. The feature has been removed from the console port and robs the game of its biggest selling point. As a result, this version has a modest library of 29 music tracks. They all suit the tone and style of the game, but after a couple of hours play this selection becomes tired and repetitive.
All complaints being said, the game is modestly priced at just £5.79 on the PlayStation store. At that price, It would be hard to ever say it wasn’t worth the money.
Taking First Or Falling To Last Place?
I can imagine playing this game while listening to my own music. Losing myself in the rush of neon colours and shapes. Zoning out into a trance of rhythmic pleasure, embracing the mind melting effect long exposure would surely cause.
Music Racer is a visual treat. It has bags full of style and retro appeal. Even down to having the Delorean and Mad Max’s Road Warrior vehicles to unlock (well legally distinct clones I expect). However, it’s console limitations leave it in last place in the race for rhythm action glory.
You can purchase Music Racer here:
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.