Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Rise: Race the Future (NSW) Review

On the eve of a new month, SuperPhillip Central delivers unto you one final review for July. It's VD-Dev's Rise: Race the Future, and SPC has a full review of this futuristic arcade racer right here, right now.

Rising to the arcade racing occasion

In its relatively short life, the Nintendo Switch has become home to a lot of racing games of a lot of different types. Some sport realism while others aim for an arcade feel. VD-Dev's Rise: Race the Future is of the latter group, and what it lacks in some features one would expect from a 2019 title in the genre, it more than makes up for with as a visually stunning racer that is both fun to play and rewarding enough to attempt to master.

Rise: Race the Future sees you speeding along circuits on both land and see. On land, your tires grip the surface of the track, allowing you to attempt to navigate each track's twists and turns, while when you're on water, your tires fold up Back to the Future DeLorean-style and it results in a much looser ride. Unfortunately, the "Race the Future" part of the Rise's full title fails to be utilized in any real way other than this.

Speaking of which, thank goodness I'm not driving Back to the Future's DeLorean--
I'd be back in the past by now by virtue of going 99 MPH!
Speaking of a looser ride, one of the major points of contention I had with Rise: Race the Future is its handling. It doesn't pull many punches, and will severely punish you for racing with reckless abandon. It takes some getting used to in order to become properly acquainted and comfortable with how slippery the handling can be. At first, I was slipping and sliding around each circuit, finding myself literally spinning out of control. However, after about a half-hour, give or take, of practice (and some better vehicles that I unlocked), I was effortlessly drifting around curves, speeding through straightaways, and taking turns like a champ.

Roads? Where we're racing we don't need roads. I'm not counting all of the times
we actually will be racing on roads, though.
That said, it's far too easy for racers to get turned around by the impact of other cars. While a gentle graze won't spin you around, if you're pushed enough on either the front or rear half of your car, you're going to get turned around. What's worse is when you finally get yourself back in position and facing forward and another car comes, spinning you back around in the process. Some... unflattering words were let loose from my mouth when these incidents happened, as they usually end any chance of coming in first in a race, but Rise: Race the Future was entertaining enough that I persevered and continued.

After the initial learning curve, you'll be taking actual curves like a pro.
Rise: Race the Future sports three modes to it. The most inspired and enjoyable of the trio is the Challenges mode, which puts you up against a series of events that task you with completing goals in each to earn points and credits. These tally up to allow you access to new vehicles and future seasons, each containing new events. Some challenges are as simple as coming in first or second, while others require a heftier amount of skill, such as never being overtaken, racing without boosting, beating a specific race or lap time, drifting a certain distance, and even a challenge lifted straight from the movie Speed where you have to keep your car over a specific speed limit. Of course, that's without the whole "car exploding upon failure" part. These challenges and events add unique stipulations to what could be perceived as otherwise repetitive races.

In order to "stay in first position", one has to GET in first position, so hurry up, slowpoke!
I mention the word "repetitive", as while Rise: Race the Future has 32 different circuits to race on, these are merely taken from bits and pieces of four themed locales: a tropical jungle, a rugged canyon, a snowy mountainside, and a waterfall paradise. It's the same looking four environments, just with different paths of the wider locale cordoned and blocked off with barriers, so it does get a little tiresome seeing the same sites and landmarks repeatedly. That said, Rise: Race the Future does offer varying weather and time of day conditions to attempt to mix things up, like sunset, rain, and fog, for instance.

Aside from the Challenges mode, there is a Grand Prix-style Championship mode, full of various circuits to compete for the top total amount of points by a given championship's end. Perhaps knowing how easy it is to get turned around in races, the developer made it so you can retry a given race if you do poorly on it rather than have to restart the championship from its very beginning. As these championships can last nine circuits total, this is a VERY welcome feature.

I'm seeing red. No, not because I'm currently in 5th place--but because
all of our cars are currently matching the crimson color.
This brings up the final mode, which showcases an issue with Rise: Race the Future. It's the Time Attack mode, and throughout this review so far I've brought up what features and modes Rise has, but I haven't talked about what the game lacks. One of these omissions really puts the damper on the time trial fun, and that's the total lack of online leaderboards. There's no way to compare times with the world or with your friends other than posting your times on social media and such, which is by no means optimal.

Furthermore, and perhaps this was to keep the game running at its steady 30 frames per second, Rise: Race the Future has zero multiplayer whatsoever. A racing game like this begs for some heated human competition, so the fact that this is not a feature--frame-rate be damned--is a bit disappointing. Still, with the amount of single-player content available--from the amount of circuits to the number of events available--it's not too painful of a loss.

VD-Dev's Rise: Race the Future brings a satisfying and rewarding arcade racer to the Nintendo Switch at an affordable price point (just over $16 USD). The absences of online leaderboards and especially multiplayer hurt the overall package, and the steering and handling takes some practice to get one's head around. However, with a copious amount of solo content and a gratifying racing experience for those who get over the initial hump of learning the ins and outs of its controls, Rise: Race the Future should not be missed by those yearning for a circuit-style arcade racing experience on the Switch.

[SPC Says: B-]

A review code was provided for this game.

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