Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars
Reviewed by Blythe Brumleve
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2009-02-02 PS3 Racing E (Everyone) Psyonix Studios

Whew.....that title alone is enough to give you a cramp just typing it out. The 42 letters and 15 syllables is enough to scratch your head and think "Why can't it just be called Battlecars?". Besides the long title I took quite a liking to SARPBC.

The game was released in the fall and is a downloadable game available for $9.99 from the Playstation Network. The concept of the game is very easy to grasp: you have a Matchbox-esque looking car that combines soccer in an arena-based combat zone. Using your car, you race to the ball that is usually placed in the middle of an arena to slam it into the opponents goal. Occasionally you will play against more than one opponent and at other times, it's just you all by your lonesome to complete an assigned task on a time trial basis. The game supports Playstation's Trophies and awards the trophies based on the online tournament matches won and/or star levels achieved during the single player timed games. In addition to trophies, Battlecars has custom music tracks and you even upload some of your matches to YouTube to compare with fellow gamers.

Being a downloadable game, I didn't expect the graphics to be superb but was ultimately impressed. Every time a car would acquire a boost, they have the ability to slam into your car, captivating the screen with a giant explosion. If you have ever played the mini games on Jak and Daxter, you will feel right at home playing SARPBC. The car itself could stand to look a little better but the navigational functions of the car itself help you forget what it looks like. The car is able to flip and has full controls mid-air allowing you to drive onto the sides of the arena and on the roof. As the car falls off the roof, you are still in full control and able to achieve a perfect landing with a little practice. There is also a strategy in flipping while boosting to get to the ball faster than your opponents. The detail of the events going on outside the arena were also captivating. With passing trains and street views, sometimes it caught your attention too much and made it a distraction as you look around and wonder "what was that loud whistling noise?!".

During tournament play, there is a series of matches against any number of enemies. You are given a particular car that is required to use and when you beat 4-5 matches you are given another car to use on the next missions. In the final game of tournament, I felt as if I was getting picked on by bullies with my enemies obtaining (or stealing!) speed-boosts and then proceeded to crash into me causing me to explode. The debris from my car would scatter across the arena and remain there reminding me to watch my back until the match was over. When a match would occur with multiple cars (more than 2 on 2) the start off is strategically one of the most important parts. I would resist the urge to hit the gas and sit and wait for everyone else to slam into the ball, causing it to fly like a bat out of hell in any direction. Sitting back and waiting would allow you, and only you, to know which way the ball is heading thus giving you a head shot to force the ball into your opponents side of the field making it easier to set up and score a goal.

Battlecars also has an online function that allows you to play a more "professional" game. Too often in the regular game, your team mates are no where to be found when you have set up the perfect hit to slam the ball into the goal. During online play however, most of my team mates were in the exact spot to catch a pass and bury it into the goal. A really cool feature that is in both tournament style and online is the ability to watch a replay of goals you made and goals against you. It always helps to see where you went wrong (and right) when a goal is scored. Its especially fun to watch a goal you made in super slow motion. At the end of the online match there is a tally that shows how many blocks, goals, blow ups and assists you have. Having that information could be beneficial to you if you have a regular partner to learn what you and your partner excel at and build upon it.

There is still some network connection bugs that have to be worked out for online play but overall the game is a great play. This game on numerous occasions made me jump for joy after scoring and much more enjoyable with multiple people to play with. More updates will follow that allow you download new arenas and I greatly look forward to playing the game with a big group of friends.

Special thanks to Dave Hagewood and Psyonix for providing a copy of this title.