I can’t complain really, can I? Over the last few weeks I’ve had the chance to play and review some great games – Armored Core VI, Lies of P and more. But now the pendulum has swung right back the other way.
The game I have been tasked with writing about today is called Revhead, straight out of the Creative Pudding and PlayWay garages. Described as a “Car Racing Simulation” game, I guess the question I have to ask is this: In a world where Forza Horizon 5 rules the roost, is there a need for a game like this?
Well, strap on your overalls and best rubber gloves, it’s time to get spannering!
The presentation of Revhead is where we will start this review, and off to a bad start is an understatement.
After choosing our character (and the Bethesda character generator is going to lose zero sleep over this, trust me), we are tasked with walking to the garage where we spend most of our time. The thing is, the animation of our character is hysterically bad – when you run it does appear you have had a trouser related accident, and the walking is so slow that snails will speed by.
But wait, there is more! The buildings in town look like boxes. The cars look like a five year old designed them; boxes on wheels. The rest of the presentation is equally laughable. In fact, as I was in my first race, my son asked me why I was playing an N64 game, so cutting edge these graphics are not. They aren’t even so bad that they are good in an ironic way, they are just dreadful.
Sound? Well, there is a bit, but all the cars sound like they have a bumblebee caught in a tin can, a soul sucking drone. So far, so bad. Honestly, I had to keep going back to the game, playing just to make sure the graphics were as bad as I thought. They were.
The story is pretty laughable as well. We have flown to Australia, to a tiny town called Noordu, where our friend Charlie has started a garage. Without a moment’s thought, we leave everything we have known and fly to the middle of nowhere in order to work in Charlie’s garage. Along the way, we can buy and sell cars, eventually building up our best car out of wrecks and second hand parts. That’s the dream anyway. We can go and do jobs for Charlie and fix cars up, and then go out in a tow truck to drag wrecks back, alongside scouring the countryside looking for racers to challenge. Don’t do it in your first car is my strong advice.
But, let’s have a look at the gameplay found in Revhead, shall we? You see, this is a game that is split down the middle – and thankfully one side is a lot better than the other. Finally, some good news!
We’ll start with the good side first, as it isn’t easy writing so negatively all the time. The garage side of the game is of course what I’m talking about. If you need money to build your own car, and you will, then you have a choice of two routes – you can mend cars for Charlie, or you can buy wrecks from the paper, mend them and then sell them on, hopefully for a profit. In a way, it is nice to have the paper as a source of vehicles and parts, as this how we used to buy and sell things back in the day, long before this new fangled internet and things!
The workshop screen works very well. A car comes in with issues, and when we lift it on the ramp, we can isolate and check out every area of the car, from oil and filter to the left rear upright on the suspension. Being able to look at wheat is wrong with the car, such as a vibration in the rear, and pulling apart the rear suspension, replacing the damaged components, is very absorbing. In fact, my many years of watching Wheeler Dealers has stood me in good stead, as I can generally guess what is wrong from the description of the symptoms.
Renewing a car and sending it out the door again will earn us money, using that for a project car to fix up when we have the cash. Of course, for the full WD experience, we can buy cheap cars from the paper, sort their issues and sell for a profit. It is here where the big bucks lie. We can also build our ideal race car by making a Frankenstein’s monster of mismatched parts nailed together on a chassis. In that regard Revhead actually works. The interface is clear and easy to read, and building a car back to health is very satisfying. In fact, if the developers had left the game there, it would be a bit of a hit. But they had to add racing on too, and here the wheels fall off.
You see, the graphical hitches I mentioned above come out even more on the racetrack. The cars look even worse than they do driving around town, if that is possible. The noise of the engine is awful, the way the car handles has as much to do with engineering as I do, and all in all it is a complete dog’s dinner. Racing seems to be incidental to the game, rather than the reason for spending long hours in the workshop, and I have to admit I hated it. The handling is awful, the way the car slides about is comedic, and it just doesn’t work. Even the changes you make in the workshop don’t seem to do much to tame the wayward behaviour.
Revhead is both good and bad, with the scales coming down on the bad side rather firmly. As a mechanic simulator, it works and is fun. But the rest of the game is shockingly bad. I haven’t played something that has looked this bad since the days of the very first PlayStation.
I can’t recommend Revhead to anyone who doesn’t have actual grease under their fingernails.