Obliteracers is a quirky racing game with a twist. A mashup between Mario Kart and Mod Nation Racers where players continually race around a track in a bid to be the last one standing.
Obliteracers is the type of game that consoles have a severe lack of in this day-and-age: the couch game. Players can join together on one screen for some great local player fun and go for all-out carnage with up to 16 players online. A great idea in theory; something I doubted would work in reality. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it worked very well. There’s no split screen in Obliteracers, but rather, the camera follows the fastest racer. The slower racers are eliminated and then teleported back onto the track: gamemode dependant.
Each track has its own theme and feel. From weather effects, to traffic, to landmines littered around the raceway. All of these have an impact on how you race and can easily cost you the win. Particularly cunning players can bash and knock you into these obstacles to give themselves an advantage, where daring players may decide to jump over the obstructions in their path. In addition, players are able to collect power-ups. Much like Mario Kart, these items can be used to attack or defend. Shark missiles seek out a player to the front and move faster when fired at speed, while a well-placed oil slick can cause havoc to the players behind; especially on a bend.
The online experience is simple enough to set up and I found the maps loaded without a hitch. Players can easily join your local session and play online with you which ultimately allows up to 16 players simultaneously. As mentioned above I was initially sceptical about this number of players on one screen, but the character designs are vibrant and unique so keeping an eye on your own racer is not too difficult. There are of course moments where confusion could get the better of me and I found myself thinking I was controlling another character, but this wasn’t too much of an issue in the grand scheme of things. If anything, it added to the enjoyment factor.
The PC version of Obliteracers allows players to connect smartphones and tablets to be used as controllers. Unfortunately, this is not possible in the console release of the game due to security restrictions. You can of course use the Vita as a controller input, however I found this to be next to unplayable; the accelerate button is mapped to R2, which on the Vita is the upper right of the rear touch pad. This made playing the game uncomfortable and mostly slowed down reaction times due to the awkward way I needed to hold the console. A simple fix of this would be to allow players to remap their own control scheme, or even to remap the controls when the game detects a player using a Vita system – much like with Destiny.
While Obliteracers is primarily an online and multiplayer game, it also has a small single-player campaign. 24 races which have a range of game modes. The ‘Leader’ gamemode rewards the player at the front of the pack with points, while the ‘Knockout’ gamemode rewards players for removing their opponents from the race. Each race will award players with a bomb icon – essentially a star – which unlock more levels to progress through the campaign mode. Other than this though, there isn’t much in the way of single-player enjoyment.
Overall, Obliteracers is a fun, multiplayer experience, but it would be nice to see more of an effort put into the number of races for the offline, single-player mode. Playing alone I found it to be a little repetitive and somewhat boring. I found it to be more of a pick-up-and-play game rather than one I would spend a lot of time on. With this being said, playing with friends is where it truly shines, and realistically I think this is the point of Obliteracers, which a lot of games now miss out on. It’s more fun when you can hurl abuse at a person in the same room when they’ve stolen the final points needed to win.