So you want to go fast? And not just fast but loud as well? Channel your inner Jeremy Clarkson? On the face of it, Grand Prix Rock’N Racing could have everything you need. But looks can be deceiving. Rock and roll isn’t always loud, and racing isn’t always about speed. Just ask a well known tortoise and a mildly annoyed hare.
Grand Prix Rock’N Racing is a sequel, of sorts, that takes the action into a championship. And not just any championship but the Grand Prix of championships. The hyperbole is strong here, as befits a game borne of rock n roll and the fastest cars around.
In Grand Prix Rock’N Racing you’ll race along ten different courses in ten different countries, competing against the best to be crowned champion. The game is split into seasons, and in between each you have a chance to improve and upgrade your car to make you more competitive for the next season.
Upgrading your car is key to success in Grand Prix Rock’N Racing. The basic starting vehicle is slow and tricky to handle – fit only for propping up the table as you struggle to keep up with the competition. With each upgrade, though, you become more competitive. Each completed race earns you at least one upgrade token to spend on your car; the higher your finishing position the more tokens you’ll earn. Upgrades are spread out over five areas: speed, acceleration, brakes, turbo and tyres.
Upgrades are costly though – you’ll need to be patient, especially through your first season, as an uncompetitive car will make it almost impossible to climb out of the lower half of the table. But, as your car improves so does your finishing position, and your increasing performance is heartening as you begin to feel like the podium is within reach.
This very tangible sense of progression is where Grand Prix Rock’N Racing excels. When everything feels slow and unresponsive the temptation to get up and turn the game off is incredible, but if you persevere the rewards are plentiful.
The AI can be aggressive; there are no shrinking violets here. But you too can be aggressive, as long as you’re careful. One mistake can spell disaster, sending you from first to tenth in a heartbeat. Once your car is competitive and you are thrown into the mix properly, Grand Prix Rock’N Racing becomes the high octane racer that it promises. Even fully tooled up this is a challenging game, and your focus must be one hundred percent if you hope to achieve that top spot. You’ll also need just a little bit of luck as well. There are no manners here; a car that’s been lapped is just as likely to spin you around as a car you are directly fighting with.
Overly aggressive AI does occasionally let the game down, moving it from the ‘challenging’ bracket to ‘downright unfair’. Every now and then there will be a game breaking crash – we’re not talking the technical kind but the huge-pile-up kind. Your car will end up on its roof with no way to right itself, and at this point it’s game over. This too happens to your AI competitors which occasional can come in handy, especially early on in the game when every place matters to maximise your upgrade potential.
Visually Grand Prix Rock’N Racing isn’t spectacular, looking more like a cartoon than anything else, but it does have a certain charm and movement is slick, which is important. There’s more the feel of toy cars in your bedroom than Sunday afternoon at Silverstone. The backgrounds have no real detail and are quite generic, the only real visual difference between tracks is a slight change in colour. But all of this is quickly forgotten when the action starts.
While we expected to have our socks blown off by the rock ‘n roll of the title, it’s mainly to the background, with engine sounds and helicopters passing overhead taking precedent. It is still there, though, and ramps up the tempo of the game in a subtle way. The commentary, however, becomes very repetitive very quickly and is so generic that it has no bearing on the race at all. The same half a dozen phrases are repeated again and again no matter what is happening.
Local multiplayer is included, meaning you can grab some friends and have some laughs on the sofa together. And it is fun; the physics of the game mean that you can’t take it too seriously and carnage quickly ensues. Wile fun. multiplayer quickly become repetitive as the upgrade system doesn’t really apply here.
This game is a grower, and to get the most out of it you will have to invest a little time. If you are willing to invest, though, you will find many hours of fun trapped in that little icon on your Xbox. If you’re a fan of casual racing games that make you sweat a little, then this little racer could be for you. That is, if you don’t mind the polish being rubbed off the paint work. But rubbin’s racin’, as the saying goes!
You can check out our short video of Grand Prix Rock’N Racing right here.
Grand Prix Rock’N Racing is available from the Xbox Store from 13 May 2016.
The developer provided a copy of the game for the purpose of this review.
Stick with it for the first hour or so and you'll find a fun and challenging racer.
Grand Prix Rock’N Racing is a good little racing game for those of you who don’t mind a few rough edges. This is a game that rewards your perseverance and is definitely worth investing a few hours in.