Rock ‘N Racing Off Road Wii U Review
EnjoyUp’s racer is similar in style to Super Off Road – the full track is visible on-screen and you observe the race from a sky-high viewpoint. It’s a return to simpler times and I was hoping this would be an enjoyable little racing game.
The cars move at just the right pace and the physics are well done, allowing you to satisfyingly slide around the track. And into tyre walls. There’s just two buttons – A forward and B backward/break, so it couldn’t be easier to get started, but you’ll find the steering tough to master.
Those with any kind of visual impairment will need to have their glasses on or contact lenses in to see what’s going on. Scale is spot on though – a good balance of track versus vehicle size. Each of the five racers are distinguished by a colour – generally this works but sunlight can reflect off the car roof which can make it easier to lose yourself.
The Nintendo game page lists “Wide variety of tracks” as a feature but there are in fact really only four. These are re-used across the cups, but modified slightly -driving direction, bumps in different places. While the modifications do serve to increase the challenge, I wish EnjoyUp had included double the number of unique tracks to eight. Even for $6 most would expect at least that many.
Each of the tracks are muddy, these look good but are unrelentingly brown, like being locked inside Wario Stadium to race for eternity. Sand or snow would have brought more variety. The trackside environment injects much needed colour on-screen and the highlight is a helicopter that occasionally takes off and flies around.
Single player is a challenge – it’s satisfying when you manage to stay in the race but easy to lose control and end up facing a wall. By the time you’ve reverse back onto the track you’ll be half a lap behind. The CPU drivers are tough competition and will leave you in last place unless you put in a good race. Although CPU drives do make some mistakes, they get ‘put back’ if they get a bit stuck – unlike the player – so you face a slightly unfair uphill battle all the way. I’d have preferred the AI just got stuck and not finish the race, to give the player a fairer chance.
Rock ‘N Racing Off Road is best enjoyed in multiplayer – the races are more unpredictable and five friends can enjoy the chaos of playing on the same screen. Online play isn’t supported however, so you would expect the offline play to have more features than it does. You can’t enter your name, there’s no Mii support and your colour is determined by your player 1 to 5 number, with player 1 being the black car.
A time trial mode is included where you can compare you efforts to the best of Miiverse and your friends. Normally this can provide an incredible amount of longevity but but you can only time trial cups and not individual tracks.
Four car types are on offer and the jump and collision physics are reasonable. There just isn’t the wow factor: no Destruction Derby style damage, no post-race 3D replays. Off-TV Gamepad support is included and works well and the soundtrack is pleasant up-beat midi-style retro (not “Loads of Rock’N Roll music” as stated on the Nintendo game page).
Older gamers out there will find this has some nostalgia value, but most players will find it too difficult and be unable to unlock all of the tracks variants and cars. Rock ‘N Racing Off Road is best suited to an enthusiast of the sport who is more likely to have the determination and patience required to complete the game.