GAME NAME: Rock ‘N Racing Off Road
DEVELOPER(S): EnjoyUp Games
PUBLISHER(S): EnjoyUp Games
PLATFORM(S): Nintendo Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): January 29th, 2015
From the first time I laid my eyes on EnjoyUp Games’ spiritual successor to Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off-Road, Rock “N Racing Off Road, I couldn’t wait to get the game in my download queue and fire it up to reminisce on some old school arcade fun. Well, to my disappointment I was met with was some of the same frustrating controls and lack of options that you would come to expect in a game launched in 2015.
Rock “N Racing Off Road will put you in control of one of five trucks as you race around different dirt tracks with crazy hills to make the race more difficult. The game comes with 3 different modes that include single player, multiplayer and a time trials mode.
The single player championship mode is a pain in the butt. The computer controlled vehicles are extremely challenging and unlocking all of the tracks is a chore. Now this is partially due to the fact that the controls suffer from the same issues from the game that this title is trying to mimic. The controls on some of the vehicles feel really loose and flighty and once you hit a jump it is all over and you end up face first into a wall. Once this happens your hopes and dreams of catching up to the competition is whisked out the window. Each championship cup hosts four races across four different countries. Each of the four have a different track shape, but unfortunately these tracks are carried over to each cup with just a few hills and jumps differing from the previous iteration.
The multiplayer mode in Rock ‘N Racing Off Road is where this game really thrives. You can have all five competitors as human opponents and race on all of the tracks that you have unlocked in the championship mode. You can also choose from an array of 5 different vehicle types, which also must be unlocked from the championship mode. Playing with human counterparts makes for a way better experience but EnjoyUp ultimately fails because they forgot to include an online mode. I’m really hoping that some of the indie developers with great multiplayer experiences like this title will look into developing their titles with online play. This would really help their products gain support from the Nintendo indie fan community. You can post your track times online from the time trials, but this is almost a cop out when it comes to online functionality as multiplayer would have been the better option.
The games’ graphics look great and are definitely a huge step up from the old school arcade version I so vividly remember. One minor complaint I had was that the action feels too far away and maybe smaller levels with the camera zoomed in a little closer may have helped. Playing the game off-screen on the GamePad made this feel even worse as the cars got even smaller. The soundtrack does have rock music like the title insinuates but it fails far from being entertaining. I remember Rock and Roll Racing from the SNES and that game delivered a great soundtrack in the rock department, but this game not so much.
My review may sound like it’s a bit on the negative side and this may be because I had extremely high hopes for this title. It does bring back some of the nostalgia of my arcade going days, but that is really all the game has going for it. If you have friends that frequent your residence and loved Super Off-Road, then this would be a really great title for you to pick up. With some fixes to the level design, camera, controls and online options this could have been a great title, but as it stands right now it’s just a bad trip down memory lane.