Pocket Racers (PSP) review
"Although I approached Pocket Racers with an open mind, I left with anything but. Aside from Satan (or in this case, a hooded facsimile), this is an ill-conceived, poorly-designed, "me-too" racer. This is not a game that deserves respect."
Among avid gamers, it's commonly believed that Satan makes any game better. We shall now test this hypothesis with Pocket Racers. Can Satan's presence (or in this case, the presense of a hooded facsimile) improve an otherwise generic toy car racing game?
Review of Pocket Racers without Satan:
When I signed up for this reviewing gig, I was asked to "treat the games I review with respect". Unfortunately, that leaves me with very little to say about Pocket Racers.
It's a racing game where you play as a tiny toy car zipping around a messy house. Since the track walls are made up of differently-colored, oddly-shaped objects (like yellow jars and green books), it's harder to make out the boundaries than it would be in games that use dashed road lines, such as Night Driver on the Atari 2600 or the arcade classic Pole Position. There are lots of ramps, which might be neat if the sensitive controls didn't make you flip over and skid across the ground (forcing the game to reset your car's position... often pointing you straight at a wall). The framerate is terrible compared to any of the PSP's other racing games. The weapons are jokes -- sometimes they make roadside objects explode, but that rarely has any visible effect on the rival cars.
Is Pocket Racers playable? Yeah. It is. And I resent being forced to waste my time playing it. Was this someone's college project? Did they pass?
Review of Pocket Racers with Satan:
According to the instruction manual, you and your friends were having an awesomely wild party. Based on the cheesy in-game cinema, it was actually paint-dryingly boring. No matter! While you were standing around talking to your alternative/grunge buddies, a mysterious hooded intruder -- undoubtedly a staunch servant of Satan -- crashed the party! This diabolical demon cast a dark spell upon everyone, transferring their souls into tiny, generic knock-offs of Hot Wheels cars. As a pawn in this wicked bastard's scheme, you must now race around the house with your friends' lives at stake. Should you lose a race, Satan (or in this case, a hooded facsimile) will claim their eternal souls!
Doesn't Pocket Racers sound so much better now?
This concept might have been kind of cool if you had to dodge fiery hellhounds or race across rickety bridges spanning chasms of flame, but no! Instead, the races take place in your messy but otherwise ordinary house, where you have to avoid such hellish obstacles as cups, books, and pencils. Clearly, this game mocks the power of Satan. I must therefore deduct additional points.
Although I approached Pocket Racers with an open mind, I left with anything but. Aside from Satan (or in this case, a hooded facsimile), this is an ill-conceived, poorly-designed, "me-too" racer. This is not a game that deserves respect. This is a game that deserves to be buried beneath an Arizona landfill or completely re-tooled from the ground up. This game shames Konami and it shames Sony's PSP.
It probably shames Satan, too, but I won't be asking.
Staff review by Zigfried (December 18, 2006)
Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.
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