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PolyRace Review: Addictive and Frustrating Racing

PolyRace is a procedurally-generated racing game where you speed through intense terrain to the finish. You play through the game modes using a small handful of ships that have differing traits to allow for strategy in traversing the map. The game offers a multiplayer, bot-based “Ghost” mode where you race against someone else’s bot to try to have the fastest time. There are other play modes like Mission, Challenge, and Race of the Day that are given by the developer and offer a more challenging, and daily way to play.

The game features an upbeat, electronic soundtrack, that does a decent job keeping you involved in the fast-paced gameplay. The sound in general is well done, with plenty of good ship and explosion sound effects. I would say the repetitive nature of the soundtrack doesn’t help the game when you need to play the game so many times to attempt to master the gameplay. A more diverse soundtrack would aid in curbing the repetitive feel the game gives.

Graphically the game is nice, with a sort of N64-like polygonal essence to it. Using an aesthetically pleasing Starfox art style, the visuals of this game are something you will take to. The lack of more diverse generation in the different map types do hurt the game. I wish the game offered more randomness, and ventured out further than being entirely based on just trees and rocks. The different game maps from the desert to the arctic allow for the opportunity to have some more interesting things appear in the random generation, but the game just sticks to its rocks and trees. Things like the addition of animals or anything beyond the bare minimum would help me enjoy the game more.

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The gameplay is very hard to get used to. Your ship shoots around the track with so much ease that the ship nearly always overcompensates your actions right into walls or other objects. You have to use such slight movements on the controls to navigate correctly, but then in harder difficulties the sharp curves and closed in spaces force you to slow down and swerve around more. The incessant veering back and forth nearly always causes repeated unfair game overs. Another major issue with the gameplay is the fact that in order to gain all the stars in every track, or to achieve a good enough time, you have to hold the boost down the entire time. I would have preferred to have stayed at the same speed the entire time I was playing. I do understand why the developers did offer the boost button, and would be fine with it as is, if only the tracks were more passable at slower speeds. The only mode I thought I would be able to actually excel at was the Distance mode, in which I assumed I would be able to take my time and learn the mechanics a bit more. To my dismay, however, you had to achieve a time restraint on the Distance mode as well, making most of the game modes nearly impossible, and leaving me with only the single-player Endless mode to play around in.

I would say the game has a decent amount of replay value, in that they offer up daily races and different multiplayer modes. It is unfortunate that the game is frustratng, but I did I find myself wanting to play more and get better at racing.  If you are into games that are about tough difficulty, or like the arcade style that a lot of mobile games are taking to as of late, then this game may be for you. Otherwise the game doesn’t offer much for anyone else, and I would even venture so far as to say this game is more akin to a mobile endless runner than a true racing game. That is what truly hurts the game because with an endless runner you are limited to swiping right or left, whereas in this title you have to actually traverse the environment manually. Overall, I had an okay time with the game. I saw a lot of good ideas throughout, but the downsides of the game are almost too much to overcome.

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Pros

+ Addictive, time-based gameplay

+ Aesthetically pleasing

+ Daily challenges and several game modes

Cons

– Frustrating gameplay

– Randomly generated tracks underutilized

– Time restraints are too narrow

– Too much repetition throughout

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To learn more about Polyrace readers can visit its Steam page or follow the developer on Twitter.

This review was made possible with a press key from the developer.