Steam Review: Riff Racer: Race Your Music! (Steam)

Riff Racer
So Cool

So, I fire up Riff Racer: Race Your Music!. What do I want to listen to? Riff Racer allows me to select anything from my MP3 files, so I pull up my MP3 list of songs and decide on Gojira’s latest album (Magma). I decide the title track will fit my mood perfectly. Ahead of me lies a neon track, spanning off into the horizon and far beyond what the naked eye can see. The music queues up, the song begins and my car starts accelerating. I deftly maneuver around an obstacle, and then, heart racing, I take a slide around a bend in the track, narrowing missing the rail as I get my car under control, hit a boost point, and go flying off of a jump, only to barely land on the next section of track. Before me waits an amusement park loop which I take at super boosted speeds. The music blaring, the track continues to form before me, the beat and dynamics of the song dictating where the game will take me next. A few minutes later, I cross the blue finish line, having finished with 100% synchronicity, good for quite a few points. I now hold first place on a track of my own creation.

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Story

This isnt applicable. The story is really the track and how it responds to your musical selection, and how you respond to the track in turn.

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Graphics

The graphics are quite cool looking. As mentioned in my intro, the tracks in Riff Racer are neon constructed out of and into nothingness. The horizon is ever your goal, and Riff Racer sends you there full throttle in a glowing world of bass, beats, and guitar (or whatever makes up the whole of the songs you select). To an extent, Riff Racer’s graphics are minimal, and yet you cant help but draw similarities to games like Tron, albeit beefed up and modernized.

Overall, the graphics in Riff Racer aren’t mind blowing, but they do look really cool. I would give them an 8 out of 10

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Gameplay

This is where Riff Racer truly shines. As a game that creates your experience around the music you select, Riff Racer does an exceptional job of being a dynamic, time and points based solo racing game. You can never see very far ahead, and so you will be constantly reacting to the world as Riff Racer shifts and creates the track based on the dynamic of the music.

There are loops, jumps, obstacles, boosts, and plenty of twists and turns that offer opportunities to not only race full throttle, but also to get your drift on. My own best drift was right at 16 beats. Jumps are also timed, and you score more points based on how many beats your jump is good for. Depending on the angle of release on your jumps, you might also spin in the air, which counts as a trick that also garners you more points. Additionally, any special moves help to fill up your boost meter.

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Your boost meter is an essential part of Riff Racer. Basically, boosting allows you to stay ahead of the beats, which is your ultimate goal. You want to at the very least try to stay with the first beat at all times, but getting ahead of it will net you even more points. In addition to tricks, there are also coins and boxes all along the track that will also help fill your boost meter. Finally, there are also boosts along the track as well. The more you stay in boost mode, the more points you will earn. Points will allow you to rise in level, which will earn you bonus coins.

Speaking of coins, you will earn those in each track by running over actual coins and boxes, by creating a track yourself (which, in Riff Racer, means you were the first to drive a track with any given song), by beating existing top 5 scores, and so on. You can use the coins to buy different cars and different skins for said cars. There is a notable difference in the various cars. The skins are just cosmetic.

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The controls are tight and fully responsive. Any time you are out of control in Riff Racer, it is because you over compensated, generally as a reaction to having to make some split second decisions. You can of course play the same track over and over, so once a track for a song has been created, it will always remain the same, and you can memorize the twists and turns in hopes of getting better scores.

Riff Racer does what it needs to do perfectly. I give gameplay a 10 out of 10.

Sound

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The sound is always 100% in your hands in Riff Racer, as it is always determined by your own musical preference. The music playing is always your own choice, and that is 100% the in game sound.

So, this is an easy 10 out of 10 as well. It is exactly what you make of it. You are 100% in control of what you hear.

Verdict

As a music powered game, Riff Racer shines in every way. Played for hours at a time or a few songs at a time, Riff Racer keeps on giving and giving. You wont ever really tire of the experience Riff Racer provides, and Riff Racer is a game you will continue playing 5 or even 10 years from now. This is what I would consider a must own for any music and/or driving fans out there. Good times will be had aplenty.

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