Back in the 90’s, there was a game that got me hooked on my Amiga 1200, a fun, addictive and downright fun multiplayer racing game by the name of Skidmarks. A lovely title for a game, but one that was so much fun, that I ended up devoting a lot of time into it with friends whenever they came around. Now, Mental Moose Studio have brought us Wheelspin Frenzy, a game unashamedly influences by the popular Amiga game. Can it do justice to its influential predecessor? Let’s find out.
Being influenced in the way it has been, Wheelspin Frenzy is still it’s own entity, although it does share similarities. Small, colourful cars racing around a good selection of 20 tracks through 4 diverse locations with the aim of being victorious on each. That’s all a small indie game needs right? Well yes, and with a vibrant selection of colours and twists and turns all over, you’re going to be thinking it’s a lot of fun with up to 4 people on one console, which it is. But there are some minor flaws that hold Wheelspin Frenzy back a little bit, which is a shame as there is so much potential here that could have made this even more popular. However we all know that time and resources are the nemesis of any Indie developer.
First, we will look at the problems that if time allowed, could have been fixed. The game lacks a mini-map of the track. Given the camera placement, it’s something that would have been ideal, as when you’re racing down on the track, you will not see a turn coming until it’s usually too late to deal with, and given the drifting technique you will most certainly have to employ, it’s a game that will see some tracks needing a couple of attempts before you memorise the layout. Nothing impossible mind you, but it can be mildly frustrating as you chase that top spot come the end of the race.
The AI is a bad sport. There, I’ve said it. Not only will it unceremoniously attempt to ram you out of the way from time to time, but I swear they help to litter the track with debris to impede your progress. The scenery is destructible so proceed with caution. Rubber banding can be a pain too when they’re behind you, and doesn’t seem to stop when they take the lead from you, with some impressive acceleration even after they’ve passed you.
Now, I just mentioned destructible scenery, and yes it is fun to smash your way through each and every course. There are achievements for destroying a certain amount of each item. However, these numbers are quite high, and given the amount of items they require to unlock, you’d think that there would be plenty of them. This is where you’re wrong. Gas Stations are a rare sight in game, and 100 need to be smashed to unlock said achievement, which seems like an unfair grind is a perfect example.
Now that’s out of the way, it’s time to see where the game shines. Handling is good, traction is thrown out of the window in favour of drifting around corners. It took me a while to get in the groove, but once I’d perfected the art, I was drifting around an almost entire track bar the straights. With extra players involved, it soon descends into carnage on track as you look to ram your friend turned bitter enemy into anything that will slow them down. Yes it’s fun, and yes it could destroy friendships, kind of like the blue shell in Mario Kart. Not that I’m comparing two completely different racing games, just as an example.
Each track requires unlocking via different means. Finish in the top three, beat a par time on a lap or even finish in first place. A reasonable challenge that shouldn’t prove too difficult to beat. But it’s not a long game with 20 well designed tracks of offer once you complete the game. Wheelspin Frenzy lends itself to a party atmosphere and gameplay mode than it does for single player. If you want easy achievements, it also offers that too, albeit with a grind ahead of you.
The soundtrack is straight out of the 90’s, along with the visuals and you can even change the amount of pixels on display. Naturally, given my age, I added more for that nostalgic feel. A nice little touch there for the older generation of gamers.
Wheelspin Frenzy is a lot of fun, and even more so should you have friends around for some local play. Sure it’s missing out on an online component for multiplayer, and even a track editor. Both of which could have helped extend the games lifespan, but for what it is, Wheelspin Frenzy does a good job of providing entertainment for those about to race. A couple of issues to take into account, but it’s not like they’re game breaking in any way.
Overall Score 8/10
Developer: Mental Moose Studios
Publisher: Mental Moose Studios
Release Date: 6th July 2018
File Size: 763MB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.