Uniracers (SNES) review
"Picture this in your head, if you can. A Unigod, who rules over the Universe, creating anything he wants. Eventually, he got bored, as I imagine a Unigod would if he could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. One day, he meets a beautiful young princess, and tries to think of the weirdest possible thing to create, to not only squash his boredom but to impress her. "
Picture this in your head, if you can. A Unigod, who rules over the Universe, creating anything he wants. Eventually, he got bored, as I imagine a Unigod would if he could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. One day, he meets a beautiful young princess, and tries to think of the weirdest possible thing to create, to not only squash his boredom but to impress her.
And thus, Uniracers is born.
If the weirdest racing game ever created for the SNES can have a story, that is it. On that fateful day, the Unigod created a race of Unicycles of different colours, and a world for them to spend eternity racing each other on. This is where you come onto the scene.
You get to choose a Uni, name it as you will (as all the default names are pretty boring), and race around different tracks against either the CPU or a friend. There's a total of 45 tracks, including races, circuits, and stunts. Races, as the name would suggest, are just races from start to finish. Circuits involve a certain number of laps around a smaller racetrack. Stunt tracks are different, and the aim is to score as many points as possible in the time given, by performing different tricks.
Oh yeah. Our unis just don't roll around tracks aimlessly, they can perform tricks to 1) look flashy and 2) gain a bit of extra speed. Tricks like rolls, flips, twists, Z-flips, or any combination of the above are crucial to mastering the game, especially the stunt tracks. Plus, they're fun to perform, and they look cool!
In 1P mode (or ''career'' mode) of Uniracers, you will race against the CPU, and try to win medals. If you beat the Bronze uni, Bronsen (original there), over each of the five tracks in one section, you'll get a bronze medal. Then you can challenge the next uni, Sylvia. (Silver, funnily enough.) Rumour has it, if you one day become good enough and start winning gold medals, the Anti-Uni will come and challenge YOU, on his own set of racetracks. Are you prepared for such a challenge?
Beware, if you ever do race against the Anti-Uni, he likes to cheat. The game gets very difficult, in the gold medal and Anti-Uni races. Try scoring 400 points in 45 seconds on Downer, and see how well you go. The learning curve isn't too hard, the first few sections against Bronsen can be done fairly straightforwardly. But as the difficulty increases, you'll find you need to start incorporating stunts into your runs, until eventually you're in the air more often than youˇ¦re on the track. You'll need fast fingers as well, to pull all this off. Controls are the best they could have been, and simple to use. Left and right steers you left and right, and the B button makes your uni jump off the track. The X, Y, A, L, and R buttons are all used to control different stunts, which works well. But, I am digressing.
You can also play 2P with a friend and race against each other, or get up to seven friends together and create your own Uniracers league. Leagues and competitions are good for not just entertainment purposes, as you get to humiliate your friends or family, or be humiliated yourself, but to set new high scores. High score/low time records are kept for each track, so you can compete against yourself to set new lowest times or high scores.
Because of this, replayability is high. You can spend forever racing over tracks over and over to shave a few hundredths of a second off your top time. I, and others, have been known to play this game over one or two tracks until our hands bleed. (My favorite, personally, is Infinity.) And if for some reason you get sick of racing as one Uni in one colour, just select another one and start the procedure off again. Your high scores will still remain, as all 16 unis in the game vie for the top scores/times.
As usual, I find gameplay the most important feature in a game. So far, I've managed to discuss story, gameplay, difficulty, replayability, and controls. Wow. Kudos to me. Onto the appearance of the game itself. Also quite important.
Being a SNES game, the graphics aren't exactly top notch. Your uni is a standard unicycle, black wheel and black seat, distinguishable from the others only by the bright colour of the frame. The racetracks aren't exactly like normal racetracks with roads, they consist of nothing more than pipes of different colours, on a background image. The colours of the pipes are bright, bold, and vibrant. And if you're clever, you'll soon notice that different patterns on the track mean different things are coming up on the track ahead. For instance, a blue track with small red stripes means that soon an overhang is coming up, and you better do something if you don't want be bouncing on the seat of your cycle.
The background image is selected randomly, each time you start a race. They're just plain things with small patterns on them, designed to just be pleasant to see while you focus on the track, yet colourful in themselves. Correction, all are pleasant except one. One of them gives this author, and many other people, blinding headaches because of its fluorescent colours. Not good, not good at all.
The graphics are not the best, okay. Neither is the sound. Like background images, MIDI files for each race are selected randomly, and loop mindlessly over the time taken for each level. Some are rock tunes, others poppy, some similar to rap almost. Or as close as you can get, in MIDI format. While not being coolest things ever, they fit in with the overall mood of the game.
What is the mood of the game itself? It's fun. Something not designed to be taken seriously. Entertaining. From the look of the tracks, to the 'story', to the instruction manual filled with references to pizza. It's a light-hearted game that manages to be incredibly appealing to those of all ages. From the moment you turn it on, to the moment you beat the Anti-Uni for the first time, or finally break your old fastest time that sat there for months, you'll be hooked, I guarantee.
Community review by karpah (June 22, 2004)
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