24th Jan2019

‘Old School Racer 2′ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

Old-School-Racer-2-screen

The 2D motorbike genre goes way back to games like Stunt Bike and Kik Start on the 8-bit home computers and it’s a genre I played a lot as a child. As time went on, those games evolved into such titles as the Trials series, games where the fun lies in multiplayer havoc with pseudo-3D landscapes acting as the backdrop to what is essentially rail-racing. There was another offshoot of those games which had more of a home on the mobile platform such as Hill-Climb racing and the like, this is more where Old School Racer 2 fits in and unfortunately feels a bit out of place on the Nintendo Switch, coming across more as a mobile port than a game made bespoke for Nintendo’s handheld platform.

A single-player-only game, Old School Racer 2 focuses on an adventure-type scenario whereby the player makes their way through levels separated into varying difficulties and biomes. Starting off in a forest environment, there is a twist in the gameplay whereby, by pressing a button you can morph the landscape at key points in the level, altering the layout in order to take a different path, this is a neat idea but the main issue I had with the entire game was that the camera just felt too close to the action. Throughout my time with the game, the camera was just too zoomed in, making progress through the pretty lacklustre levels a case of trial and error. I was either zooming along doing flips (more out of boredom than anything else as they don’t add points or boosts, making finishing the stages as quickly as possible the only goal) or inching my way through so that I didn’t hit my rider’s head and have to start from the previous checkpoint. The main twist of morphing the landscape doesn’t add much as, aside from a few scattered collectibles it feels like it doesn’t matter which route you take, it all feels like a time killer, adding to that mobile sensibility. There are unlockable vehicles available but I didn’t have the impetus to work my way through them, unfortunately.

The game runs really smoothly and the instrumental three-piece rock outfit soundtrack rolls along nicely but the gameplay is just too generic and samey to recommend. Skeleton Rider on the PS Vita held my attention for longer because you could adjust the zoom which at least gave room for fun flips and plannings for landings but Old School Racer 2 is almost like the Rick Dangerous of racing games, crawling along, learning by trial and error with no sense of airborne action or mindless fun, not a game I’ll be coming back to.

Old School Racer 2 is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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