Car combat simulators used to be really popular back during the 1990s. They were everywhere, whether they were top-down games, isometric games like Combat Cars, or 3D games like Twisted Metal or Vigilante 8, the car combat sub-genre was a rocking one. Over time the titles lost popularity, the games stopped coming and the most we get of them now are rehashes of games from the yesteryears.
Well, Phantom Compass (with the help of a Canadian grant fund) was to revive the 3D car combat sims with Auto Age: Standoff. The game is a throwback to the 3D car combat sims of old, but the story is ripped straight from the 1980s. A lone warrior has to battle against a tyrant trying to keep the country in disarray. However, the only way to properly do battle against him is in high-tech, combat cars.
The trailer definitely helps sell the game with the cheesy but catchy theme song. Check it out below.
The first thing that came to mind from that theme song was David Hasselhoff’s song for Kung-Fury.
If you forgot what the song was, it was called “True Survivor”. They even made a music video for it that you can check out below.
Other people were a little more convinced that the Auto Age game was a bit more of an homage to the old cartoon called M.A.S.K.
If you don’t remember what the show’s theme song was like, you can check it out below.
But homages and similitudes aside, it’s time to talk about Auto Age: Standoff. Now obviously there’s the elephant in the room that has to be addressed: the whole diversity thing.
Typically this game would have starred a grizzled car veteran with a five o’clock shave, glam-rock hair with tassels, and an open-chest spandex body suit with military boots and cut-off leather gloves. Instead, it’s a black chick (and I wouldn’t doubt it if she’s a lesbian). So essentially these developers are trying to edge in their diversity quota. I don’t have an issue with it, but I do have an issue with the gameplay.
Lack of collision effects, lack of rigid or soft body physics deformations, lack of stage variety, and lack of weapons really hampered the trailer. The editing was great, the cel-shading is okay, and the theme works. The problem is the gameplay. Now if these indie devs can use that Canadian grant to fine-tune the damage models, increase the weapon variety, add some interesting stages and give the game some much needed polish, then they might have something worthwhile on their hands.
Hopefully they don’t just rely on ticking token diversity checkboxes to get their game attention, because it would be a real disservice to a worthwhile concept that they have on hands.
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