Digital downloads have allowed developers to create arcade experiences without having to worry about that retail price tag. It has also permitted unknown smaller independent developers, such as Nemesys Games from Hungary, a chance to show off what they can produce. Ignite is a straight up arcade racer with the idea of being able to just pick up and play and have a blast.
There’s nothing extravagant going on with Ignite when it comes to setting up the game’s campaign mode. Within this mode is a wheel of events displayed on-screen, all locked from the start except a simple race that allows you to get to grips with the game’s handling and mechanics. Beating the event will unlock more events, car types, cars and paint jobs, which add stats that help in gaining points or nitro. Ignite doesn’t fill the campaign mode with nonsense, it’s just race after race with no interruption.
What the developers have done to set apart Ignite from all the other arcade racers is their way of implementing the scoring system that intertwines with the nitro boosting. During a race your score gradually increases over time. The higher the position you are in the quicker the score increases. Drifting, drafting and smashing obstacles in the race will also allow you to add more points to the total. When you hit the 1,000 score mark you unlock the ability to use nitro in that race. Using nitro will increase your speed but at the cost of burning away some points.
Points aren’t just for show; any you have remaining reduce your overall time taken to complete the event. 1,000 points translates into one second being deducted from your time. Having a pile of points at the end of an event could help you jump positions, or solidify your top spot in the race. It doesn’t work as well as it could have, as you can drift a lot easier while boosting, even wiggling on straight roads to keep the drift counter going up. You’ll soon be able to break the points system so that you always have lots of points, and are still be able to constantly boost to finish first.
At first using the boost annoyed me. When trying to do full laps with the nitro on was hard work due when you boost, a crazy amount of motion blur is introduced on the screen. What makes it even worse is that the screen shakes quite violent while you are boosting, so mixing this with the motion blur just makes it awkward to concentrate on the track. Gladly you can turn off the motion blur in the options menu which makes driving with the nitro a whole lot clearer on the eye.
Driving the cars in Ignite is extremely easy to grasp, with the handling being reasonably good to control. Using the speed boost makes your car turn into a cornering machine as the law of physics are thrown out of the window. Taking corners past a certain point of turn on the car will cause it to start drifting. Stopping the drift is done by simply steering against it. Anyone could pick up Ignite and be racing reasonable in a quick amount of time.
While Ignite does support using a gamepad, it doesn’t change any of the interfaces to complement using one. Constantly it was telling me to use nitro by “pressing the 0 button” when there’s no 0 button on the Xbox 360 controller. If you are used to racing games with a pad, then you’ll quickly find that acceleration is on the right trigger, break on the left and nitro is the A button, with RB allowing you to respawn on the track if you crash or get stuck on some scenery. Controls themselves are fine on the controller once you’ve become accustomed to the interface buttons.
The sound effects aren’t anything special – my favourite part is how beefy the nitro sounds, but the rest is average as the cars all sound the same and the crashes don’t sound very impactful.
One of the best things to say about Ignite is just how pick up and play friendly it is. It’s a game that I found enjoyable if played in small doses but longer sessions started to make me feel a little bored, as there isn’t much difference in the events that make you change the way you play. It’s not expensive either at £12.99 on Steam (currently on sale for £6.49).
If you want something quick to play on, then you could do worse than what Ignite has to offer. It’s racing at its simplest, there is multiplayer, and for the price it might just be worth you checking out to see if it is your cup of tea.