Little Racers STREET
October 1, 2012 10 Comments
Once I checked Miner Dig Deep off my “things to do” list, my most requested review became Little Racers STREET by Milkstone Studios. I got at least one email a week and a tweet or two telling me how good it was. I wasn’t convinced, because we’re talking about Milkstone here. They’re probably the most productive XBLIG studio that doesn’t release text-based adventures or games about swatting a cat away from your food. Their games typically play well and have high production values. And yet, they haven’t been without their fair share of controversy. Their recent title Sushi Castle received a, ahem, lukewarm response from Binding of Isaac fans (check the comments). I personally don’t give a shit about that. Good games get cloned. That’s how the industry has always worked, and that’s how it will continue to work long after we’re all rotting in the ground. So what if their games aren’t original? I like to think of them as being like one of those really cool guys with a weird quirk. In this case, it’s like having a moderately amusing friend who has a problem with Kleptomania.
What irks me about Milkstone is their games are always just sort of there. Despite the occasional hiccup, like AvatAAAH!!! or Raventhrone, most Milkstone games seem to strive for little more than being decent. I’ve rated three previous titles by them on my leaderboard, but as of this writing they sat at #83 (Sushi Castle), #95 (MotorHEAT), and #100 (Avatar Panic). It’s frustrating for me as a fan of XBLIGs, because I fucking KNOW they’re capable of better. I just needed proof of that. People assured me that Little Racers STREET was that proof. I put off playing it for months, because I’m not a huge racing fan, nor did I believe the hype.
Believe it. Little Street RACERS is very good.
Depending on which camera angle you use, RACERS is a Sprint-like top-down racer, or a 3D one if you use the neat (but significantly more difficult to play) chase camera. Brian actually stumbled upon that while we were playing it, and I have to say, damn. Smooth animation, impressive use of 3D for an XBLIG, and it controls relatively well. I still preferred the top-down view, because you can see the turns coming sooner and you need every edge you can get. Whether playing online or off, you earn money from races which you use to buy and upgrade cars. You then use those to race to earn more money to buy more cars to upgrade. You then use those to race to earn more money to buy more EGAD!! I do believe this game might be a time sink.
You really can’t appreciate how good Racers plays until you put about fifteen minutes worth of grinding a car’s stats into it. The controls? Silky smooth. The course layouts? Very well done. The difficulty is adjustable, progress is continuously made so the grind never feels like a grind, and buying the cars and upgrades feels surprisingly rewarding. By time I was finished with Little Racers STREET, my only complaint was that your car doesn’t stay highlighted throughout a race. Even with custom paint jobs, if you’re playing an online game with a lot of different racers that tend to bunch up, it’s easy to lose track of which car is yours. However, there’s a good chance that by time you read this, that might not be the case. Milkstone immediately agreed that I was right and promised to fix it during the next update. And then they stole my wallet.
The highlight of my play session was an online match that included my boyfriend Brian, my best XBLIG buddy Alan, and grammar-deficient XBLIG critic Jimmy Page. Brian kicked ass, winning a few races. I didn’t do so hot, probably because I had “the cornering ability of an arthritic bison.” Well, I never. Actually, the truth is I was trying to cause Brian to wreck. Kind of hard to do considering that he was typically way ahead of me, but every time I had an opening, I tried smashing into him. It never worked, and I kept hitting the walls while he repeatedly asked me if I was drunk. No, I wasn’t. Just stupid. And then I had to play it cool and act like I sucked (yes.. act), because I didn’t want to get the look. Like that look. The one I’m getting now. Oh crap, I think he’s reading over my shoulder. Woogity Boogity Boo! Yep, he’s reading over my shoulder. Well, in closing, Little Racers STREET is awesome and now I have to go try to claim that I was merely practicing “defensive driving.” I think he’ll buy it.
Crap, I think he’s still reading over my shoulder.
I love you.
I was just driving defensively!
80 Microsoft Points said a good defense is a strong offense in the making of this review.
Little Racers STREET is Chick Approved! Find out where it landed on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.