Regular readers of Cultured Vultures will know that we’re quite fond of our racing games around here, especially arcade racers. Whether it’s tearing through the streets on Burnout Paradise, ruining our friend’s days with blue shells in Mario Kart or having our eyes blister when playing the likes of Wipeout, we love a bloody good arcade racer, and GRIP: Combat Racing might become one of our favourites.
We’d normally put our cynical hats on and say it’s a lot like Rollcage, but the official website makes a point of saying that GRIP is seen as a spiritual successor to that game, so we’ll have to let it slide this time. Still, imitating a near 20 year old racing game still provides a racing experience unlike anything on the market right now.
You pilot a four wheeled juggernaut with wheels that extend above and below the main vehicles, meaning there’s no such thing as landing on your roof like a turtle. You flip over, you keep going. No sitting there waiting for your vehicle to reset, unless you somehow end up off course. Big wheels aren’t going to save you from a one way trip into the abyss.
With the ability to keep moving forward even if you’ve flipped over, it’s rare that your forward momentum is compromised, especially after a jump. Of course, the tracks make natural use of this mechanic, leading to jumps and loops that go from upside down, downside up and everything in between.
During your first couple of races, the gravity defying nature of GRIP can be a lot to take in. There’s a definite learning curve at play here, one that hasn’t been seen since the likes of F-Zero GX, but that makes GRIP so satisfying to play. Nailing a sweet barrel roll into a tunnel while gunning down your opponents might never get old.
The biggest appeal of GRIP: Combat Racing is going to be how the tracks utilise the abilities of the vehicle to the fullest. With a full launch scheduled for November 6th on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One, we won’t have to wait that long to find out. Colour us extremely excited.