There’s no brand name cars, no weapons strapped to your vehicle or giant jumps to take in Bang Bang Racing. Instead you’ll be focusing on your driving skills to make the proper turns around each of the S shaped roads, avoiding obstacles and getting ahead of your opponents.
Bang Bang Racing includes a single player campaign, tournament mode, and a free play mode to play around in. The game can also be played with up to three other people via split screen but surprisingly there is a big lack of an online mode. Instead the game includes leaderboards to compare race times but a full on versus mode would have been appreciated.
In the campaign players play through one of the various tracks in either a standard race, time trial, or elimination mode. The first two are probably self explanatory enough but for those who don’t know elimination removes the car in last place of the race every 30 secondsuntil you yourself are eliminated with the position you’re in being your score.
The modes themselves are fun enough but what really takes away from the game is the intense rubber band AI. This pretty much means that even when you’re in first place it’s really easy for any opponent to catch up and pass you because of how closely knit everyone stays to each other throughout the race. Unless you manage to play the game perfectly, as in not hitting walls or obstacles, taking every turning perfectly and taking every shortcut you can definitely stay in first. This just really made the game annoying and not very much fun at times but it can also force you to master the control of your cars which isn’t a bad thing.
The beginning of the game also starts off extremely slow, not just the cars you control but the nitros doesn’t feel very effective. Crashing into other cars and trying to regain speed to get back into the race also felt like I was pressing the pause button for a few seconds and really just kills the momentum. The tracks also feel very similar with the same type of turns over and over again with only the visual setting outside of the rails effectively telling you you’re at a different stage. Fortunately later chapters start to differentiate and everything starts to feel a lot faster. Obstacles like oil spills that can be lit on fire by nitrous, explosive cans can damage your car (which can be healed by driving through a pit stop near the finish line), cones can also get in your way to slow you down. All of thes addition appear more so often in later levels which do help make each race a little more interesting.
By winning races or events in the campaign you unlock different vehicles to use or different paint jobs to apply. Every vehicle has a different feel while driving and while taking turns. Some can take them very sharply while others are slower or need a wider area to perform exactly as you want it. Each car takes time to master but there should be something for every player to pick up and enjoy.
Those who enjoy arcade racers may get a kick out of Bang Bang Racing because of its somewhat different take on the genre. The rubber banding AI can really get in the way of your enjoyment but if you think that can help you improve in your performance then maybe you won’t mind it too much, I would just rather not easily fall from first to last place because I didn’t take a turn properly or winning because I saved my nitros until the very end. The lack of online is also kind of baffling, split screen is great and so is having leaderboards but a proper online component would probably get a little more longevity out of the game. For 800 Microsoft points ($10) I couldn’t really recommend purchasing this game unless you really love this style of gameplay, you’re much better off picking up a $1 or $2 app for your phone which would give you the same, if not more features and enjoyment.
This review is based on a downloadable copy of the 360 version of Bang Bang Racing.