Developed by:Bugbear Entertainment Published by:THQ Nordic Genre(s):
  • Racing
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$39.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1 (2-8 Online) Release date:August 27, 2019 Reviewed on:PS4


    Few things look more ridiculous than grown men, dressed in all black racing suits and white helmets, buzzing around a track in riding lawn mowers. Then they smash into one another. On purpose.

    That’s a real thing, by the way. Wreckfest didn’t invent riding mower destruction derbies. State fairs (among others) host them. As reality often plays out, if something has an engine, someone will race it and others will desire to break it.

    And, someone will likely make a simulation out it, hence Wreckfest. Imagine being from a third-world country, learning that not only will people compete to destroy cars, but they’ll spend hundreds and thousands of dollars stuffing them with parts to make these junkers reach max performance.

    There is lineage here. Not directly, but at launch the PlayStation offered the timeless Destruction Derby and later, Destruction Derby 2. The series fell off afterward (and was carried by various developers), disappeared, and led to this odd pro racing sideshow/spin-off. Wreckfest is the first however to hone in on simulation qualities, like Gran Turismo or Forza light, and presenting the whole thing with an unusual seriousness.

    In that, Wreckfest suffers a dearth of personality. Imagine destruction derbies and there’s probably a throaty announcer spamming treble through a stadium speaker shouting, “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!” like Larry Huffman (notable to video games as the voice of Super Nintendo/Genesis classic Rock and Roll Racing).

    There’s no Huffman equivalent to Wreckfest though. There’s a splash of self-mockery from the metal soundtrack selections (song titles including ‘Hurt,’ ‘The Great Art of Living’ and ‘Crucial Fracture’), but Wreckfest takes this idea seriously. Parts, weight ratio, gear shifts; those car nerd elements matter as to ensure the bending metal is accurate. That’s Wreckfest’s hook.

    Burnout and its sequels had more visually arresting destruction. Explosions do indeed pretty things up, and Wreckfest doesn’t have those. Yet, the counter is satisfaction in seeing someone spin out into a concrete barrier (because yes, real world people find the idea of racing around a track full of concrete blocks appealing). That happens here with authentic weight, and various dents reflect that track work accurately.

    Wreckfest doesn’t make this easy. It’s out for blood (or is it that oil?) and steaming radiators, your own or otherwise. Crossing first means mastery of the garage and car wrestling. There’s twisted glee to be taken from the physically precise chaos.

    It’s more for show than anything else. Wreckfest offers a career and multiplayer, of course. The basics, not much else. Derivative and safe, enough to placate those looking to smash stuff. Things run dry pretty quick though. While the deepened physics mean every collision is different, Wreckfest is a lot like an actual derby – it’s satisfying to some weird, warped primal urge within us, but falls off once that need is met.



    Short lived but enthusiastic while it sticks around. Seeing cars churn through one another on a figure eight will always have some appeal.



    Nicely rendered tracks and cars, but the meat of it comes from the destruction engine that sends parts flying and creates precise dents.



    While devoid of most personality, the grinding metal music fits the mayhem.

    Replay Value:


    Dependent entirely on how feisty those crashes look after a few hours. Wreckfest falls into a routine, and its hook blends in.

    Final Score:


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