Developed by:Digital Reality/Playbox Published by:Digital Reality Genre(s):
  • Racing
  • Platform:
  • Handhelds
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$9.99 ESRB Rating:EVERYONE Players:1-4 Release date:June 2, 2012 Reviewed on:XBox 360

    Bang Bang Racing

    I love the fact that developers are looking back at older video game genres to find inspiration. Some might view this as a risk; there are a lot of new, younger gamers who don’t appreciate the classics. The ones spending the most only care about newer titles. I would argue differently as most of us float in the middle of the gamer age spectrum, with fond memories of older titles and excitement for the newer ones. So we get excited when we hear about an old genre getting a modern spin. This brings me to Playbox and Digital Reality’s newest title, Bang Bang Racing. This top-down racer is an example of the old meeting the new, creating something awesome!

    Top-down racers were all the rage, if only for a brief period, back in the day. Hot Wheels and RC Cars were popular toys in the 80’s and these games sort of emulated their charm. Unfortunately, they weren’t big enough to compete with the bigger racing titles that sprung up in the arcades. Before you knew it, no one was making top-down racers anymore. If it wasn’t for mobile handhelds (or smartphones) keeping them alive, we’d be forced to “Ebay” these titles in order to play. That’s why I’m happy that Bang Bang Racing made the leap from mobile device to home console. Finally, I can burn rubber in miniature sports cars with friends on a big screen again.

    One thing I like about Bang Bang is its use of real physics. In old top-down racers, even though car types felt different from one another, they weren’t realistic in any way. Back in the day, hitting a patch of sand or bumping into another car would create the same outcome each and every time. You’d stop dead in your tracks, slide at a certain angle (regardless of the track) or just explode…apparently cars do that when they come in contact with a bush. That’s not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, this is still very much an arcade affair. It’s just that there is more to it than the normal “step on the gas and avoid traps” gameplay. During a race, gamers will have to consider their speed, the sharpness of a turn, their car’s handling, etc. Going top speed around a turn in a car with bad handling will cause you to slide out of control; possibly hitting other cars in the process. Even if you clear the turn without hitting anything, you’ll get passed if you can’t manage to brake and accelerate properly.

    On the arcade side of things, you do have to watch out for environmental hazards. Tracks can be covered in snow, sand, water and oil, each giving a slightly different effect when you drive through them. Other than making it difficult to maneuver around the track, these hazards can also cause collisions. The resulting damage to your vehicle will make it hard to compete (the greater the damage, the slower your car). To help offset these hindrances there is a turbo meter; which is used to boost you past other competitors on the track. It won’t completely substitute for good driving skills since it takes a while to refill itself once used. Being in a damaged car with no turbo doesn’t mean you’ve lost the race though. There are pit stops at the beginning of each track that, when driven through, repairs all damages and refills your turbo meter. You just have to get there without being lapped.

    The combination of all of these elements help to shape the way you race around a track. Do you try taking a turn a little sharper than everyone else, knowing that you could possible damage your car? Is it a good idea to use all your turbo passing an opponent when you’re far away from the pit stop? While Bang Bang never turns into an all-out simulation, there are a decent number of variables to consider when it comes to winning a race. What that means is that, this can be a great family friendly racing game where anyone can jump in and have a good time. It also means that there is enough skill based elements found in races to satisfy the more competitive players out there!

    This brings me to my only real complaint with this title; the lack of an online multiplayer mode. While I love to challenge a friend via split screens, that isn’t always an option nowadays. Of course, not every gamer is limited when it comes to time; if you have time to hang out with friends via the couch more than twice a week, you’re winning. I’m not that lucky…or unlucky, as having extra responsibilities (like a child) isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that it would have been great to play with friends online instead of having to schedule time for them to come over. Moreover, it would have been great playing against strangers online as racing with the AI gets old pretty quickly.

    Thankfully, Bang Bang is charming enough for me to get over not having online gameplay. Graphically, this game looks awesome; even though the camera floats above the action we’re still given a decent amount of details. That’s nothing new when it comes to other isometric games like Diablo or any of the Maxis titles. It is noteworthy, in this sub-racing genre through. Most of the intricate details are saved for the track or for the cars, rarely both. The controls are spot on and there is a decent balance between skill and luck; adding a competitive edge to a game everyone can pick up and play. There are even online leaderboards to compare and/or compete with other racers. You can never go wrong with including split-screen play; four friends can race against each other with AI opponents thrown in for fun. Bottom line, not only is this a great addition to the Live Arcade, it’s also a treat for fans of the top-down racing genre!



    Bang Bang Racing is a great top-down racer for new and old gamers alike.



    Definitely a looker; surprised at the level of detail featured.



    Everything sounds as it should. The music is decent; not really memorable though.

    What's New:


    The addition of realistic physics is new to this genre.

    Replay Value:


    The game is fun to play and there are a lot of cars/tracks to unlock. Online play would have definitely helped though!

    Final Score:


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