Midtown Crazy Race

Published by Jose Varela, Developed by Jose Varela

Genres: Racing (1 players)

US release date: Aug 21st, 2014 | EU release date: Jul 31st, 2014

Prices: $4.99 (US) | £4.49 (UK) | €4.99 (EUR)

Midtown Crazy Race review

Midtown Not-So-Crazy-About Racing

ShinyShovel wrote this game review.

Review written by

August 28th, 2014

"What makes a good game?" - Gamers are asked this question constantly by many people: Developers, Publishers, the Press. The answer is simple. A good game takes a concept, tweaks some familiar mechanics and then gives us a subtle twist to shake up the formula. These three things allow many games to shoot for the stars, and those who execute the formula precisely will land upon them, rising above the common games.

Midtown Crazy Race is not a good game. It's not even a poor game. This game is a plague. Between the poor design choices and various technical issues, this game shot for the stars, crashed, and burned in its own problems.

Midtown Crazy Race screenshotMidtown Crazy Race is part of a racing series popular on the mobile market, that appears to be influenced by the arcade racers of the 90s. Surprisingly, it achieves this; only with less game modes, worse visuals, forgettable music and controls that fail at controlling. The game starts up and presents the gamer with a scenic view of a city from a body of water. The camera can be panned using the GamePad's touch screen. Unfortunately panning the camera causes the city to lose the clever angle that made it look good; and boy does it turn ugly. The textures are flat, pixelated and stretched in a weird 'fisheye-lens' kind of way. This game does not give off a confident first impression. The main menu doesn't do much, however it is functional. The menu offers a single player mode, but the multiplayer norm of the racing genre fails to show up.

The gameplay is found in the single player option, which is itself made up of three game modes. The first, is Practice. The second, is Be the First, which is a fancy way of saying "Beat three other cars in a Race". Finally, there is Countdown which is this game's version of the generic time trial mode of any other racing game. What is odd here, is that this single player has little substance, completely omitting a campaign or anything of the sort.

The only incentive to keep anyone playing is to unlock various cars, with the first and only car available being a Mini Cooper. The only mode I found to be enjoyable was Practice, as it places you in an almost deserted city about two blocks wide. This mode allows you to get to grips with the hellish controls, broken physics and bland-blocky-textures littering the tracks. Be the First is where this game takes a complete nosedive. The race tracks are all of forty seconds long with AI that probably couldn't care enough about how bad they perform. To be honest, the AI is probably having as much trouble with the controls as the gamer is.

Midtown Crazy Race screenshotThis brings up an issue that will put off anyone who has grit their teeth long enough to push through the music and menu screens: the control scheme. Anyone who likes analogue sticks? No, the developer fails to acknowledge you. To steer, you tilt the GamePad. While other kart racers have this as an option (Mario Kart 8 and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed being examples), Midtown Crazy Race has this as its only control scheme. It isn't as fine as the steering in other motion controlled games either. The slightest tweak will cause your car to veer off the road and collide with a wall, window or tree (all three options look the same anyway). If a tight turn is coming, you will take that turn grinding down the curb on your roof. That sweet paint job you picked earlier? The tilt and sway controls will tear the colours away from you. To accelerate, ZR is used, and ZL is the break/reverse. Of course, the game never tells you this. Trial and error is the tutorial.

The graphics while shiny, are poor. I wouldn't even expect these graphical blemishes on a GameCube game. The cars have horrific models. Sleek cars are rendered as jagged as a stegosaurus, and to match this, colliding with another vehicle cues either a squealing roar like sound or an explosion noise plays. The graphical issues found within the game should not be present on the Wii U's hardware. It's honestly an eyesore, with sound design allowing your ears to feel the sorrow.

I can't recommend this game unfortunately. If the 'so bad it is good' vibe is something that you like, then maybe Midtown Crazy Race will crash and burn right up your street. Just make sure you look both ways first.


Gameplay: Gameplay score: 2

Graphics: Graphics score: 1

Sound: Sound score: 2

Lifespan: Lifespan score: 2

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