As some of you may know, I like my racing games and I enjoy my puzzle games. Racer 8 is a budget shifting tile puzzle game where you must ensure that your racer makes it safely through a checkpoint and to the finish line. Each course is a mix of different tiles, curved tiles, three way turn tiles and a few crossroads. Think of a train on a track that can only go forward and rather than being the engineer, you’re the one that ensures the track is laid out properly. If there’s no track ahead, then you crash and need to restart the course again.
I’ll start off with the good. The game has pleasing, cute, simple almost cartoon in a way graphics. Everything looks sleek and uniform. You can purchase more cars and different paint jobs for them with the points you earn for racing. Each vehicle has its own stats for acceleration, deceleration and whatever 100% scr is. The game’s help system could be a lot more informative than telling me what all of the menu icons are. Its all nice stuff that adds to the longevity of a game with at least fifty courses. Its sad that once a course is done, its done. There’s no going back.
Before you get to challenge those courses, you face a practice map that’s like the others. You do this before anything else in the game. Its best to jump in head first and there’s nothing difficult at the start. Once you’re done with that, you get to go into the main menu.
Since Racer 8 has a rally car theme, its a race and that consists of fuel, speed, a checkpoint, a finish and what amounts to jewels to collect on your way. Once you’ve been on the track for a while, the checkpoint will spawn and you’ll need to rotate tiles to get the vehicle through the gate. With that done, after a few more seconds, the finish line will appear. You’ll need to mind your fuel though.
While I enjoy puzzle games, these tile puzzle games are among my least favorite, but it takes more than a bad genre to make a bad game. Its the glitches here and there. Things as simple as using the menu. I can click on leader boards, settings and stats to see them, but the problem is, there’s no way out of them without closing the game. There are interfaces that look like they should slide up or down. They have arrows indicating it, but there is no mouse wheel support, but more surprising than that, clicking the up or down arrows does nothing as well. Trying to purchase a new vehicle for 200 points when I had 200 points told me that I did not have enough to make the purchase.
Then there’s playing the game, you click a tile to rotate it left, your right click to make it rotate right. That’s simple enough, but to make things more challenging, certain tiles go under construction, making them a wildcard, because they can turn into any different tile. I’m fine with that, its part of the challenge to avoid them, but there are other tiles that shift without me telling them to. There’s no warning that they will shift, it just happens. Worse than that, there are a few times when the vehicle has been on the road, about to leave the tile to a road that’s connected and it just crashes as if it was driving down a highway with no turns, no cars and then slams into an invisible wall.
There are no hot keys and to pause the game, you’ll need to mouse click it. To control the racer’s throttle, you’ll need to click and drag it left to go slower or right to go faster. While faster might get you where you’re going, it just takes your mouse away from the tiles it needs to be at. Tapping with a finger would be much better, but even then, you risk a tile rotating when you’re busy messing with the speed. The further you drive, the faster the racer seems to go.
Trees can obscure your vision of the course and tiles. Could you imagine if Tetris blocked out part of your screen? The game’s camera is cumbersome. You need to click the camera icon and mess with a slider. The slider raises or lowers the camera and you can click and drag the camera around. It will always continue to look down on the map like its a chess board. Racer 8 is a touch screen for sure. A top down perspective would have been advantageous, but it would have taken away from the style the game has.
Everything culminates in a bad game. A budget title with menus that force you to close the game, a less preferred genre in general with a problematic camera. Its difficult to recommend this game to anyone but tile puzzle lovers on touch screen devices. Even then, there are still issues to contend with.