06th Nov2018

‘Car Quest’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

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A new budget title available on Nintendo Switch, Car Quest is a very basic vehicle-based 3D adventure with a very simple premise stretched to its limits. However, it did have an oddly addictive quality that I would prescribe for hangovers and children.

Car Quest is set in a world called Blocktaria, a world literally made-up of squares and shapes, mostly with a pink/purple hue. You as the titular ‘car’ (a saucy blue number with a visible engine block) have been tasked by the King of Blocktaria to collect various artifacts in order to travel around the map and restore Blocktaria to its former glory.

I’m working on the assumption that Car Quest is aimed at a younger demographic. It seems far too stripped-back and easy for veteran gamers (the biggest challenge is finding the location of recently unlocked ramps and areas due to the lack of an in-game map or any markers) and the colour scheme and jovial (if irritating) narration of the king (viewed in the game as a floating head filled with a library of seemingly endless block-based gags) gives off a sense of a game meant for a youthful audience. This isn’t to say that adults will find nothing here to interest them, however. When I began playing the game, it’s stark premise and very basic graphical style seemed like a novelty that would wear off fast but I did find it oddly moreish, if only in short bursts.

The thrust of the action has you trundling around in your car collecting batteries (of which a certain amount are needed in order to enter portals) and the aforementioned artifacts which open other sections of the map. Navigating the jumps, ramps and corners of Blocktaria aren’t really much of a challenge and, although the car feels weightless and the controls somewhat floaty, I found myself almost using the game as a relation tool. Just listening to the (oddly, occasionally eerie) ambient music as I zipped around the landscape solving the physics-based puzzles, every now and again slipping off the tracks (which leads to a 25 battery penalty), it all felt quite relaxing, if straightforward and unmemorable.

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The controls in the game are easy to grasp, with an accelerate and brake button pretty much being all that’s required. The camera feels claustrophobic sometimes as it’s locked to your car with no option of a view change or full control at all, this can sometimes lead to irritation when you want to see what’s below you or maybe just to have a goosey at your general surroundings, especially when the right thumb stick isn’t being used for anything else.

As already stated, Car Quest is far more suited to the casual or younger gamer. The fact that you can’t die in the game combined with its lo-fi approach makes me feel that it would perhaps be a fun game for a parent to play with their child, meandering around collecting the batteries and solving the simple puzzles although the loose controls and complete lack of additional modes or unlockables mean that Car Quest remains a very slow-paced and one-dimensional affair… perfect for hangovers.

Car Quest is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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