There are a lot of arcade-style racing games on the PlayStation 3. Every year, well over a dozen are added to this overcrowded genre. It can be really hard for a game to stand out in a genre that is this populated, yet Smash Cars attempts to do just this. Smash Cars is yet another arcade-style racing game for the PS3. To its credit, Smash Cars attempts to provide enough additional content to stand out among the other racing games on the PS3, but these features aren’t quite good enough to make the game shine.
The basic system behind Smash Cars is fun and rewarding. Players can race on a variety of maps using a variety of racing styles. There are a few different racing modes to play, but they are all very similar. After choosing a map and a game mode, players can then mix and match car parts to get the features and statistics they want from their vehicles. The race begins after the players choose the designs of their cars. The racing mechanics in the game are all very familiar yet they’re still fun to play. There is a boost meter that allows players to speed up and accelerate at rapid speeds, which is increased by performing tricks with the cars. These tricks include things like flips and drifts. The gameplay in Smash Cars isn’t anything new, but it can still be fun and rewarding.
The biggest flaw of Smash Cars is the lack of tight controls. The controls are very loose and hard to use. A car will frequently shift for no obvious reason. This tends to happen at the worst of times, such as when one is on a bridge. It is very frustrating to be sent flying off a bridge when you don’t even know what you did wrong. The biggest faults of the controls are most apparent when performing tricks. The tricks can be fun to pull off, but trying to pull them off can be awful. Winning races requires players to perform tricks, but actually pulling off tricks is very frustrating. Also, there are a variety of strange roadblocks on each track that greatly hinder one’s progress. These roadblocks seem utterly pointless and they’re quite bothersome.
The music in Smash Cars is quite annoying. I’m not easily bothered by bad music, but even I was irked by the unpleasant audio in this game. The music from track to track is very similar. The music isn’t good to start with, but its repetitive nature makes it even worse. The alternative to actually listening to the music is turning it off in the options menu, but then you’re forced to listen to the sound of the engines for entire races. Neither option is preferable. The game’s lack of adequate audio is a major drawback to the game as a whole.
Smash Cars doesn’t do enough things differently from other racing games to stand out in a positive light, but it’s still fun to play at times. Smash Cars is a game for fans of arcade-style racers. That’s just the way the game is designed. I can’t picture people who aren’t fans of these types of games loving Smash Cars, but fans of the genre might have a decent time with it.