BlazeRush
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 8

BlazeRush offers a combination of polished visuals, responsive controls, and all-out action, which make it a hard title to put down once you are hooked. With tons of cars to choose from, fantastic weapon power-ups, and well-designed tracks, this game can keep you playing for a long time. The single-player campaign is excellent for learning the ropes, but ideally, this is a game that you’ll want to play with your friends, either local or online.

Gameplay: The game is incredibly addictive in both single and multiplayer, which doesn’t happen often.

Graphics: The visuals are detailed, polished, and very vibrant, which makes the game a pleasure to look at.

Sound: Nice tunes and good sound effects, but no voice acting

Summary 8.7 Outstanding
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BlazeRush

Developer: Targem Games | Publisher: Targem Games | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Action / Indie / Racing | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

With its isometric viewpoint, addictive gameplay, and fast-paced multiplayer, it’s hard not to compare BlazeRush to genre classics such as Micro Machines and Rock & Roll Racing. This genre has seen a resurgence recently, but BlazeRush is one of the titles that have come the closest to capturing the spirit of the aforementioned classics.

At its heart, BlazeRush is an arcade racer, but it trims away all the fat, such as health, leveling, and even brakes, to provide a pure adrenaline-fueled experience. You simply select a car, track, and race mode before settling in for some fun. With support for four-player local and eight-player online multiplayer, the game can be hard to put down once you are hooked. Despite a few occasions where it was hard to find an online game, the experience has been pretty smooth.

If playing online is not your thing, fear not, as BlazeRush also has a lovely single-player campaign. There are tons of races, and it also functions as a tutorial for explaining the different types of vehicles and races and the means to unlock more cars. Once everything is unlocked, you will have a roster of sixteen vehicles split into three categories. You have the regular wheeled cars that control as you would expect and flying vehicles that are a bit speedier and more agile at the cost of durability. Finally, the tracked vehicles control like they are on rails and built like tanks, but can take a while to get up to full speed. Overall, we enjoyed almost every vehicle on offer, which is rare and shows how well-balanced the game is.

Instead of straightforward racing, the emphasis of BlazeRush definitely leans more towards combat. As you drive along the track, weapon power-ups randomly appear, ranging from auto guns and missiles to saw blades, slime, and even soundwaves. You can only carry one weapon at a time, and they are all one use only, ensuring you can’t hoard weapons or keep spamming the same ones. After using a weapon, you’ll have to grab a power-up again before you can perform any attacks. The weapons appear in abundance, so you’ll see plenty of explosions and cars flying off the track, but you can’t actually kill opponents. Vehicles that are destroyed respawn nearly instantly at the back of the pack. Also, since boosters, which can be used for a massive temporary speed increase, also appear regularly in the wake of the lead car, races are usually very close. Vehicles that fall too far behind are also respawned in order to keep all the racers visible on the screen. It sounds like it can be annoying, and in the single-player mode, it sometimes is, but overall, it works well and ensures that there is never a dull moment during the game.

Apart from the time trial style races present in the single player campaign, three different race types are available in BlazeRush. First up are the ordinary races, where the first vehicle to cross the finish line takes the gold. Then there is the “King of the Hill” style races where the car that manages to stay in the lead for a cumulative total of 50 seconds wins. These races are pretty frantic as everyone is gunning for the lead vehicle since attacking the rest of the pack has no benefit. The final mode, and a personal favorite, is the “Death Race,” where a massive grinder-type vehicle destroys cars that fall behind. Wrecked cars remain out of the race until only one is left, and the next round begins. This mode is ideal for screwing over opponents by hitting them with weapons or nudging them off the track and then boosting past as they get annihilated by the grinder.

The races take place on the usual track themes, such as a jungle, scrapyard, lava, and ice, but the visuals are quite detailed and very vibrant. The amount of detail that went into the vehicle designs and explosions is also quite impressive, although it does mean that things can look a little chaotic most of the time. Each vehicle has its own driver, and while their character portraits are very nice, there is no speech in the game, which means they don’t have any real personalities. There is no announcer either, but considering how annoying they can be, this isn’t really a bad thing. Overall, the audio is quite good, with solid sound effects and appropriate music tracks. None of the tunes are particularly memorable, but they fit the action nicely and add to the frantic atmosphere of the races. We were quite impressed by how polished BlazeRush is and encountered no bugs or crashes after a couple of hours of playing. Even the online multiplayer ran without a hitch, provided you can find other players.

Although BlazeRush can be played using a keyboard, an analog controller comes highly recommended. There is a learning curve to playing with an analog controller, though, as cars steer in the direction you press the analog stick instead of a dedicated acceleration button. With no brakes to worry about, you only have two buttons: one for firing the currently equipped weapon and one for activating a boost if you have it. The cars handle very distinctly and are rated according to their mass, acceleration, and handleability. None of the vehicles felt “superior” to the others, and we managed to win plenty of races using cars that were unlocked right off the bat. During the single-player campaign, winning cups unlocks new races, while accumulating points unlocks new vehicles. The game awards points for all kinds of creative actions, so even if you don’t win, you can still amass a big score, depending on how you play.

None of the weapons in the game feel overpowered or useless either, as each has its own situation where they can help you to get ahead. For example, the autogun or soundwave is ideal for track sections without a barrier where you can knock out multiple cars if your timing is right, while the bouncing saw is lethal on straights as it ricochets off the edges. Seeing your opponent’s face as you nail their car with slime, causing them to slow down just as the grinder bursts into view, is just one of the reasons why the local multiplayer mode is so much fun.

There is very little we can fault about BlazeRush, and this review would probably have been up much sooner if it hadn’t been so hard to stop playing the game. Because the camera is designed to keep all the racers in view at all times, it can be aggravating when you are too far in the lead and can’t see ahead, but this didn’t happen enough to become a problem. Players who prefer racing games where you can pull ahead or fall behind the pack without rubber banding might find this aspect of the game annoying, but once again, it fits the arcade-style nature of this title. If you love the genre or fondly remember games such as Micro Machines, Rock & Roll Racing, or Death Rally, then you really owe it to yourself to check out Blazerush.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP3
  • Processor: 2.0 Ghz Intel Pentium-4 / AMD Athlon II
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB NVidia / AMD Radeon / Intel (HD 3000, HD 4000) with support for Pixel Shader 3.0 (AMD Radeon X1000 not supported)
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Windows 7 x64
  • Processor: 2.3 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo / AMD Athlon64 X2 or better
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB NVidia GeForce 650 / AMD Radeon HD 5750 / Intel HD 4000 and newer
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space

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