Review – Glow Arcade Racer

Somewhere, deep beneath the earth’s crust, lies a factory that makes rubber bands. One day, this factory was raided by the developer behind Glow Arcade Racer, and every rubber band in the factory was stolen.

They were then melted down and converted into AI.

Glow Arcade Racer is a hyper-stylish top down racer. It really does look very nice indeed, and as you race the camera sweeps around so that you can always see what you need to see. It looks quite wonderful in motion, which is obviously the first thing that anybody will notice about the game.

It plays brilliantly as well, to a point. You have only the most basic controls, RT to accelerate and A to fire a weapon but that’s all you need and you lose speed automatically as you corner, depending on how tight you take the corner. This means that driving smoothly rewards you with the fastest laps. If that sounds like it’s unusual, it’s not, it feels completely natural from the very first corner you go around.

And then you reach “the point,” the point where the gameplay stops working entirely. Unfortunately, the rubber banding of the AI in Glow Arcade Racer is so bad that even Mario Kart would blush.

My suspicions were roused quite early. I had made six or seven attempts at this one track, and every time I managed to get a small amount in front, I would be caught up and passed. It was literally impossible to pull out into any kind of lead. Progression in Glow Arcade Racer is linear, and so you only unlock the next track by winning the previous one. This meant that coming 2nd, 3rd and 4th over and over again meant all I could do was keep replaying this same race and I just couldn’t win, no matter how well I was doing.

Suspicious of the presence of rubber banding, it was time to experiment. When the next race started I just stayed on the line for ten or so seconds. Then I went. Then my controller’s batteries ran out and instead of the game pausing, I was just spinning around in a circle for a while as I hastily rooted through a drawer in search of a play and charge kit, then plugged it in. Finally connected, off I went, and the rubber banding went into overdrive. I managed to catch up all the AI vehicles within a few laps, and went on to win the race.

It was completely ridiculous, and makes the whole racing experience feel nothing short of pointless. It’s a shame really because the feel of the racing itself is really nice, and with an included track editor it has so much potential for making wonderful tracks to race on. It’s just that none of those races would be in any way fun.

Glow Arcade Racer is available now for 80 Microsoft Points.


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