It seems as though the PC racing genre has seen a boon recently thanks to the indie scene. While some titles fall short of being an enjoyable experience, Bang Bang Racing is not only fun to play, but harkens back to the days of delightful coin-operated arcade racing games.
The art style of Bang Bang Racing has a charm reminiscent of the Micro Machines craze experienced in the mid 80s and throughout the 90s. With a little bit of RC Pro-Am and a dash of Super Sprint, Bang Bang Racing is filled with moments of nostalgia. While there are no options available outside of resolution, this type of game is not expected to have many in the first place. Everything from the car models to tracks to shadows is a telling factor in how much effort Digital Reality took to make this title look fantastic.
In terms of control scheme, you have only the default option. This works well enough, but those who like having the ability to setup custom controls will not be happy. There are no issues with the controls themselves playing with the Xbox360 controller. Even the Logitech F310 when used with the XInput setting also shows no problems. The cars, depending on the style chosen, responds nicely to user input. The vehicles touted to be agile handle corners very well while speedy cars tend to get loose around those same corners.
As it stands now, the only two camera options are fixed and follow. The fixed angle does not allow you to see ahead very well as it focuses on your car from a side view. Follow is positioned above and behind your car. As you drive, the camera whips back and forth during corners. Follow is better but even though it was immensely easier to play, if you suffer from video game dizziness, both cameras could result in headaches or nausea after long play sessions. Digital Reality could have used a more traditional camera presentation, but having the cars closer to the camera would require more graphical horsepower.
Bang Bang Racing is only tarnished by the many micro-stutters encountered during the four hours of play time. In some cases, there can be two or three during any given race. These glitches seem to have no rhyme or reason. Some players have expressed the same issue on the Steam Forums.
The track design shines with its many risk/reward options. Located on either the left or right side of the starting line is what can be referred to as Pit Lane. Once you make your way around the track, driving over the green wrenches will fill your nitrous and repair your vehicle. These are sometimes positioned very nicely when coming out of a corner as your momentum takes you straight over them while others are out of the way. On many occasions however, players must decide to keep their current track position or make a move for Pit Lane which could result in losing two or three spots on the leaderboard.
Once you have graduated to higher circuits, the tracks open up shortcuts. Just like Pit Lane, you must weigh risk versus reward. In addition, the sheer number of tracks available and the variation of those tracks are fantastic. You will be racing from beach areas to frozen mountain resorts. Although this may sound extremely cliche, the tracks never become boring.
To defeat your opponents, Bang Bang Racing offers a variety of obstacles to be used as weapons. You can clip construction cones along with barrels of water and oil to slow down racers hot on your heels. On harder difficulty settings, the AI becomes extremely aggressive so this arsenal of destruction becomes even more important as you will need every advantage available to you.
The AI seems to be pretty smart as fellow competitors do tactical maneuvers like consistently block attempts to be undercut into corners. In some instances, you might also be pushed towards an oil slick or a snow packed part of the race track.
One of the more frustrating gameplay aspects to Bang Bang Racing is the lack of an on-screen display during a race. You cannot distinguish between a close competitor in points or someone who is bringing up the rear. This becomes extremely important when you are fighting for first place and need to know if you should use aggression to get passed the car in front of you. Some of the more popular racing games have gone crazy with the amount of information provided by their annoying HUDs, but having something to indicate who is who would be nice.
Aside from unlockable paint jobs, there is no way to customize your car. You unlock different types of vehicles as you progress in Career Mode. The different styles range from tough cars, which can take a lot of damage, fast racers with more nitrous or vehicles with top-notch handling.
A feature common in almost every other racer is Replay Mode which is surprisingly absent in Bang Bang Racing. It is always great to relive moments such as when an intense lead change takes place just before the finish line.
On the multiplayer scene, Bang Bang Racing sports up to four-player local split screen racing. Just grab a few friends, plug in controllers, and have some fun. There are no options for online play. In this day and age of cramming multiplayer into every conceivable game, it is nice to see a developer take time to get the core gameplay correct first before adding additional features.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
The overall experience gained from playing Bang Bang Racing is one of fun and excitement. While the lack of a fully fleshed out multiplayer mode might turn away some potential buyers, there is still a great time to be had. Try the demo if you are concerned about the dizziness or micro stutters. For the asking price of $9.99, Bang Bang Racing is sure to be money well spent.
Bang Bang Racing Technical Summary:
- Time Played – 4 Hours
- Widescreen Support – Yes
- 5.1 Audio Support – Yes
- Control Scheme – Xbox 360/Logitech F310 (reviewed), KB/M
- Bugs/Crashes – A few micro stutters
- System Specs – 3Ghz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 1GB GTX 460
- Demo – Yes
- Version – v1
- Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
- Availability- Steam