Review: Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars
Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars is the first ever Unreal Engine 3 powered physics based vehicle arena sports game and is possibly the longest game title ever, says Corey Davis developer for the game. Developed by Psyonix Studios -- who helped Epic with the design of the Gears of War vehicle level "Burn't Rubber" -- the game could only be described as soccer with RC cars. Of course, the name and idea of the game seems like something that would be a cheap or free flash game but it's the amount of polish and great controls that makes this game worth your time.
Battle-Cars Are Go!
It seems odd since soccer isn't a huge sport in the U.S. that Psyonix would take an under appreciated sport and base their PSN game around it. The game lets you choose from seven cars to compete in a tournament mode that has thirteen events or twenty mini-games, and that isn't including multi-player. The cars handle really well considering the speeds you are going at and the amount of rocket boosts you end up using. To fill up your rocket boost meter you can drive over boost platforms -- think item boxes from the SNES Mario Kart -- or pick up boost vials which tend to be scattered around the map.
The amount of depth the game has is practically insane. You can make your car jump to hit a ball in mid-air or double jump to give yourself a mini-boost. You can ride up the wall and even on the ceiling though I never really found a use for this. The game also features Trophy support, custom soundtracks, and Youtube support for uploading your match replays.
The online features in the game are just crazy for a download game. The game features full fledged online ranking/matching/party system support with leaderboards and different skill rankings for each bracket. The game offers four player split-screen both locally and online, so if you and three of your buddies want to take on the world with your own team, you can do that too! The best thing about this games split-screen is that you can toggle the split horizontal or vertical which is lacking in almost every game that has split-screen.
Now on to my favorite part the replay feature. The way it works is that at the end of each match it will ask you if you want to save a replay of the entire game. After saving, you go to the replay manager and choose from any match you have saved. Once selected, you can choose to upload it to Youtube, or transfer it to your XMB and then edit it the way you want with video editing software.
It uses the Unreal Engine 3 so it has a really nice visual style. I believe this is the first game to actually introduce color while using the same engine as Gears of War, although I hear Gears 2 has plenty of color. The game looks impressive compared to other titles on PSN though not as good as something like Wipeout HD.
Don't expect much from the sound department for this game but the ability to play custom soundtracks gives this game a thumbs up in my book. The default music in Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars could on be described as something you'd hear at Leipzig Games Convention which is hip electronica. If you are going to use the custom soundtrack feature then pick something up tempo like an AC/DC or Rush album.
At first, I had a tough time getting over the fact that this game is $14.99. Then I looked at the stuff this game offers and it just goes above and beyond any $9.99 game on the PSN store. When you take into account the Halo like replay and editing features, online tournaments/leaderboards/matchmaking/party system, and that the game is just down right fun to play this ends up being a well spent fifteen bucks. If you don't believe me Psyonix made a demo -- which is a rarity for a PS3 game much less PSN title -- so check that out.
Final Final Thoughts
Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars is going to be an under appreciated game on the PlayStation 3. Partly because of the wacky name but most PS3 owners are going to look at the price and not give the game a chance. Compare to games that are both $15 Braid and Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars which do you think is the better value? A Mario Bros. style platformer with the ability to control time or a soccer game where you control rocket cars and has an extensive single and multi-player experience. I think we both know the answer to that.