As its name suggests, Obliteracers is all about the art of destruction on the racing track (preferably of the opposing racers rather than your own). Developed by Varkian Empire and published by Deck13 Interactive, Obliteracers is a chaotic kart racer that focuses more on how many vehicles you’ve blown up over how quickly you’ve crossed the finish line. This is emphasized through the various weapons scattered throughout the tracks, and game modes that center on the same goal. Furthermore, the game tries to set itself apart from other established kart racers by having a fixed camera that follows the leader of the race rather than one that has your driver in the center. Those who fall too far behind from the leader are instantly eliminated and depending on the mode, are brought back instantly near the leader or have to wait until the round is over to get back behind the wheel. It’s a novel style that certain takes a bit of time to get used to, but offers a unique flavor that can be enjoyable in a multiplayer setting.
Obliteracers: PlayStation 4, Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Space Dust Studios
Publisher: Deck13 Interactive
Release Date: 26 August 2016
Price: £11.19 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
The game’s career mode acts as an extended tutorial for the various modes and settings Obliteracers has to offer. The four modes include endurance, knockout, survival, and leader. Endurance is a basic deathmatch mode that rewards points for each rival racer you take out. This mode has instant respawns and continues until one player reaches the score limit. Knockout is the same as endurance without the instant respawns. Survival is a last man standing mode where only the last remaining racer earns points. Rounding out Obliteracers modes is leader, which is also a deathmatch mode but only the racer leading the pack gains points once someone is eliminated.
There isn’t a whole lot of variety between the four modes, but Obliteracers does manage to pack in some variety in its campaign through, including various modifiers that add a unique flavor throughout the twenty-four races. Some include making weapons invisible so that you can’t tell what weapons other racers are carrying until they use them, being able to steal the weapons off of your opponents by bumping into them, or races that remove all weapons from the equation. These modifiers are all available to choose in multiplayer games as well, so it gives some good ideas for players who would want to try these same settings against friends or family. Each race also includes a certain number of bombs to earn, which are given to the player based on their placement at the end of the match. It doesn’t take longer than a few hours to complete the career mode, and there isn’t any real incentive to return back to these levels once you’ve obtained all the bombs.
Because of this, the longevity of Obliteracers largely depends on the strength of its multiplayer. Luckily, the game offers loads of ways to customize the racing experience through the modifiers and ability to ban any and all weapons. From making weapon pickups completely random, making tracks extra slippery, lowering the gravity, doubling or halving the damage dealt by weapons, eliminating the use of shields entirely and much more, experimenting with the various settings ensures that no two race ever feels the same. However, while the game does allow for offline and online gameplay, finding people to play online may be difficult since the game doesn’t offer any sort of matchmaking mode. Due to the lack of any sort of matchmaking, those relying on strangers will have to host a lobby and hope they can get people to join, or hope someone else happens to create a lobby of their own and join off them.
Overall, Obliteracers has some interesting and unique game mechanics that makes itself stand out apart from other kart racing games. There are several fun and colourful levels that stand out from each other and the weapons work well in creating a chaotic environment. However, it doesn’t take long before the novelty wears off and you’re left with a game that is enjoyable for a few hours at best if you don’t have local or online friends to experience it with. While the career mode offers some interesting settings and modifiers, the campaign doesn’t take long to become fairly repetitive, and can be completed in a few hours once you get used to the game mechanics.
It is through its multiplayer that Obliteracers truly shines, containing plenty of options to customize your multiplayer experience. This makes it an excellent party game where people can suggest on different modes or themes and test it out on the tracks against other friends. The online experience may vary depending on whether you have friends to play with, or have to rely on strangers who also happen to be playing the game online at the same time. While there are some interesting ideas that set Obliteracers apart from your standard kart racing game, the lack of depth and modes keeps it from being anything more than a novel distraction for a few hours.