Music Racer Reviews

  • RadicalSniper99RadicalSniper991,550,794
    22 Jan 2020
    9 0 2
    NOTE: I received a copy of this game for promotional/streaming purposes. The thoughts contained within this review are my own.

    I find myself in an odd position writing this review. I've tried to think about what I'm missing about Music Racer. Of the scores currently on TA and the opinions I've seen for this pre-release title, I'm just not finding what everyone else did. It kind of sucks when you think about it though. Being able to enjoy games the same way as others see it would be amazing, but in this case I just can't.

    So let me dive into it and see what comes out of it.

    First up, what is Music Racer?

    Going with the name I thought of two possibilities - either a music game or a racing game. To be honest though, it doesn't seem to fit either. I'm a fan of both genres too, but Music Racer doesn't seem to fit. Here's where I'm at. Music Racer puts you on a track going down the road. There are bars you are supposed to hit and pillars to avoid. Every bar you hit adds to your score and a combo meter. If you hit a pillar, your combo meter is reset to 0. At the end of the track, your combo and notes hit are summed to give a final score.

    So does this sound like racing? Definitely not. How quickly you reach the end of the track is dictated solely by the song being played over the experience. So based on all this, you'd think this makes it a music game. But the truth is, I didn't get that impression either. Why?

    Music games usually have an element where the notes you hit match some rhythm or patterns in the song. I could pick out some sections that seemed to do so, but found that it felt more random than anything else. Plus, there isn't a skill to hitting the notes like you'd expect. While you have to hit the bars, when you move to their lane only matters if you're there. So one of the big pieces of Music games, timing, becomes almost completely irrelevant.

    Now just going off this description, the game doesn't sound bad, right? Just something different from the impression you might get based on the title. I'm going to be getting a lot more negative after this though sadly. I'm going to go through what hurt this game from what I saw and turned it from a neat concept to more just an average title.

    1) The Track

    I saw this slightly during another recent game from the "music genre" - AVICII Invector. The tracks you play on have bumps and hills that you traverse. Unfortunately, these tracks become an enemy. The twists and turns obscure your view of the upcoming obstacles/notes constantly. And while AVICII had it occasionally, Music Racer amplifies this problem. Luckily, one of the track settings can mitigate it somewhat. After selection your car and song, you can select a location for your play. The Retro track luckily has the smoothest lanes and thus is "reasonable" in that sense, but what I saw during other tracks was making it nearly impossible to keep up with what was coming up next.

    2) Scores/Leaderboards

    When you play music games, what is a major part of the fun? For many it's the ability to replay the songs and improve your score. But in Music Racer, there's no point. There is no tracking in game of your scores. Every time at the end, you'll see your score, but there isn't a mention of whether it was better or worse. There's also no leaderboard to compare with other players. This feels like a standard feature that's just missing.

    3) Visuals

    This is going to be a bit mixed opinion for people. I don't have issues with epilepsy or have suffered from bright flashing lights in games. But this game really takes it to an extreme. And unfortunately, while there are options to mitigate it slightly, it still doesn't do a ton. As much as I changed the settings, I could still see it being a setup that wouldn't work for many people.

    Before closing out, I do want to talk about some other elements of the game. These aren't so much positive or negative, but just parts of the game.

    - Achievements: Achievements are mostly rewarded for purchasing the different tracks and cars. It's all about earning points for completing songs. If done legitimately (there are ways to finish quicker, but you can check the solutions for those methods), this can take a long time of playing the songs repeatedly. For example, you can gain about 1500 points per song when playing decently. The most expensive car will cost 100k points. So if you're getting enough points for everything, it will take a bit of playing the songs over and over.

    If taking this route, unlocking the other tracks can help reduce boredom because each track seems to have a different note pattern and can increase the number of lanes present.

    - Songs: The song has a bunch of tracks by mostly 2 artists. They're ok, but I had people watching me playing the game say later they had no idea I hadn't been playing the same songs over and over. This leads to something that I was disappointed by, but might not be something that was meant to be in the game. I remember in the promo I read before looking to get a copy to stream that it was possible to import your own music. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case for the console versions (although I had some viewers tell me it was part of the PC/Mobile version, I forget which). I can honestly say that feature would have been a huge improvement in terms of my overall experience. Just unfortunate it wasn't there.

    Overall, Music Racer is an average game to me. I think from this review you can see where little touches and improvements could have really created a much better experience. But with where it is now, it's just lacking. Hopefully what I mentioned at the top makes a bit more sense to everyone.
    Showing both comments.
    poochz0rzTotally fair review, it's about how I feel. Although I feel I've experienced all there is to experience feature and gameplay-wise, I'll probably wait until I complete the game to write a review. But this is a nice write-up.
    Posted by poochz0rz on 29 Jan 20 at 20:14
    MineMasterjake1Just about to 100% it and I just left it on in the background towards the end, without abusing cloud saves this game is very grindy. I agree there defiantly could have been more to the game - if the courses were set to difficulties (explaining why they were so extreme) and a actual reward other then points for finishing each track i'd have a higher rating but for now its just another cheap Gamerscore game.
    Posted by MineMasterjake1 on 16 Jun 20 at 13:10
  • poochz0rzpoochz0rz245,841
    01 Feb 2020 01 Feb 2020
    1 0 0
    I saw Music Racer in the "coming soon" section of the game store about a week ago, and it looked interesting. I tried to look up some gameplay footage, but very little was available for a game that hadn't been released yet. Little did I know, this game has already been released on Steam and removing "xbox one" from my search terms probably would have given me more insight on what I was getting into.

    Anyway, Music Racer is, uh.. a video game. It doesn't feel like your typical music game and it doesn't feel much like a typical racing game. Sure, you play as a car and you are driving your car on a track and music is involved, but it doesn't really seem to scratch either itch. You're not racing against any opponents or against a clock, the "race" takes as long as the song is. And you're not so much "playing" the song like a music game as you are just moving around a car while the song plays.

    Your goal is to drive into what the game calls "beats" to earn points that are able to be used to purchase new cars to drive with or new tracks to drive on. The controls are simple, you either use the left analog stick or the d-pad to press left/right to move your car from lane to lane. I had the desire to change the controls to LB/RB, but there is no option to change the controls at all. You are able to use "advanced" settings, which instead of just pushing the analog stick left/right, your car goes in the direction you are pushing depending on how hard you're pushing in that direction. It makes the car's movement smoother, but playing that way is definitely more difficult.

    As far as the cars go, there isn't much to say. There are a handful that you can pick from, including one with Santa's sleigh as the inspiration but it will cost you a pretty penny. There are some neat cars, and one nice thing is that all of them are customizable in at least one way. Body color and rim color. You can even be a bird or use a TRON-style motorcycle.

    The game comes with 23 songs that you can play, all unlocked from the start. Only cars and tracks are purchased. I think this is a good choice, having more music variety to start with sounds better than only having a few songs that you have to play over and over to get some currency for more. 12 songs belong to an artist Tobu. In general, I like most of them a good bit. Rollercoaster, Cruel, Calling and Candyland are some of my favorites. Blue Neon by Projekt F is okay, but in general I find most of the 10 songs by Isafold to be a bit basic and lengthy, not as fun as the others to play through.

    There are 14 tracks to choose between, 12 of them needing to be purchased. 13 of them have 3 lanes on the track, but one of them has five, adding a little bit more variety to movement. There is a solid amount of variety between them, between visuals, style, and mechanics. But this can be a good or bad thing. Some tracks are nice, but others have a lot of hills and curves that makes upcoming beats nearly impossible to see. I wanted to give some brief thoughts on each track below in the spoiler section, if it interests you to read.

    *** Spoiler - click to reveal ***

    For the most part, I would say that I didn't dislike the visuals of any track and they all look nice in different ways. If a track breakdown doesn't interest you, I'll just say that Distant Lands is my preferred track to play on because for me it has the least amount of issues. Playing with the settings may change your mind about different tracks though, the Bloom and Screen Shake effects can be a bit distracting.

    The game has four modes that you can choose between when playing a song.
    [Standard] - The standard modes. Has beats, but also has barriers within the song that you need to avoid or you will break your combo.
    [Zen] - The same as Standard, but there are no barriers on the track, you can just play freely.
    [Cinematic] - There are no beats, and you don't have control of your car. You can move the camera around, but this mode is to simply just leave on like a music video. Will not get you any points.
    [Hard] - Standard, but hitting a barrier will immediately end the song.
    Although it is nice that the game has different modes, there is absolutely no incentive to not play on Zen. Playing on Hard does not award you any more points than Standard or Zen, which seems pointless. You could play on Hard for personal preference, but I don't see that happening often. The amount of points you get at the end of a song is your beat points, plus your current combo. Not your highest combo. If you hit a barrier near the end of a song on Standard, your points will be cut almost in half.

    Another thing that this game is missing is score tracking. Once you finish a song, you can see how many beats you hit and what your combo was. However, there is nothing to reflect this anywhere else. A simple score breakdown on the song list would go a long way. I don't see anyone writing down or taking a picture of their scores to keep track and improve. It seems like such a basic, given feature. Not sure why it would be left out. The game doesn't have online leaderboards, but that doesn't bother me as much as not being able to compete against your own scores.

    The achievements are very simple. You will unlock all but 3 by just purchasing all of the additional cars and tracks. Those other 3 just require getting 3 different star levels in songs. Getting 3 stars on a song should only take some getting used to the controls, not long at all. This game does not track played time, so I don't have a good estimate for completion. I imagine with active play and a solid player, you can knock it out in less than 12 hours. There are different ways to do it faster, but I won't mention them here. You shouldn't find much difficulty in unlocking them all, it's just a grind.

    Even after completing the game, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. I'm not angry that I paid $5.94 for it, but even at that price point this game leaves a lot to be desired. The visuals can be a bit overwhelming, some of the tracks make seeing the beats almost impossible, no score tracking, sometimes beats straight up don't register, and the song catalog is pretty small. In general, the game does have a nice look and some of the music sounds pretty good. However, it's a bit too basic and lacking to give a higher score. It's not a music game, it's not a racing game. It's just.. a game. And it's not a knockout. For the low price, or even during a potential sale at some point, you could do worse. But you're not missing a lot by giving this one a pass.