Avatar Racedrome Review
Avatar Racedrome is as the name suggests a racing game featuring Avatars. Does it do exactly what it says on the box? Read on to find out.
Avatar Racedrome features 16 tracks which can also be played in reverse, giving you a respectable 32 tracks to race on. You can choose to race in a single player mode against 7 other CPU opponents. The Practice mode gives you the opportunity to test drive your vehicle and explore the track at your leisure without any opponents to race against. The Championship mode allows you to choose the length of the season, with the winner being the driver with the most accumulated race points at the end. Xbox Live support for up to 8 players, a split screen mode and local system link multiplayer modes are present.
Handling is very important in racing games and it can be very hard to get it feeling just right. Avatar Racedrome does a fairly good job and while at first it will take a little getting used to, after a few laps you should be comfortable in taking corners. The vehicles are more geared towards drifting so practising this on corners can result in some great time saving and overtaking manoeuvres. Colliding with the side barriers will usually end up with your vehicle in a near dead stop instead of bouncing and spinning off, I think for the width of the track this is a fair trade off. You can also choose to enable or disable Auto Breaking which when enabled does help if you are finding yourself bouncing off the side barriers more often than not.
There are no options to change the difficulty of the CPU AI which may be an issue for less experienced racers. The CPU AI is fairly good and provides a decent challenge to race against, they do drive in less of a formation than many other racing games which was good to see. It felt more natural as I saw CPU vehicles taking other driving lines on corners to overtake other vehicles and the CPU wont be afraid to block you or give you a nudge when overtaking. If you do find yourself up against it, you can rewind the game for up to 30 seconds a la Forza 3, it works very well and it can be useful on that final corner when the pressure gets too much and you clip it too deep 😉
Although there is only one choice of car design you can customise it with a decent choice of body colours and represent your country with a selection of flags. I would have liked to have seen some more car designs which could have been unlocked via completing the Championship mode for example, it gives you something to work towards.
Something I do not get to experience much in Indie Games is the Xbox Live multiplayer, whenever I try a game there is nobody else playing. To my surprise I found three games running! Admittedly the games were not all full with only four of the eight places filled on each, but this was a very good indication that there are people playing the game at that time. The online mode removes the collision with other vehicles so you are driving a ghost type car, possibly to stop idiots who like to crash into others on purpose. The online mode worked very well and I had no issues at all in a race with four other players.
Presentation is a bit hit and miss, there is nothing wrong with it as such, everything works fine but I felt some things were missing. Additions such as tables for the best lap and race times and a record of your drivers statistics such as wins and loses (local and online) would really improve the game. Graphically the game looks good, there are some occasional frame rate drops when there are some cars in front but it does not detract from the gameplay too much. There is just the one music track, a dance style song which is repeated, it is an OK song but you will be switching it off before long. Sound effects are done well, the engine noise sounds OK for the design of the car, tyre screeching sounds good and in the background you can hear the crowd cheers as you go past the stands.
Avatar Racedrome costs only 80 :MSPoints: which is great value for money. A good selection of tracks to race on and an online mode that other people actually play means there is plenty to keep you occupied. I would have liked to seen a bit more depth to the Championship mode and a few additions which I mentioned above. But for 80 :MSPoints: you cant complain, if you are a fan of racing games this is a must buy!
More information and the trial and full version of the game can be found on the Marketplace.