By Chris Melchin / July 5th, 2019
|Release Date||May 14th, 2019|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Steam|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Everyone|
Redout is a game that was introduced to me by a friend of mine, via the Steam version of the game roughly two and a half years ago. Despite my love for science fiction, the various sci-fi racing games had somewhat passed me by over the years, but this game was something of a revelation. The high speed and high difficulty grabbed my attention, and when it was announced for Switch, I was excited for it. Now, two years later, it’s finally released.
Redout is a high-speed anti-gravity racing game, similar to the F-Zero and Wipeout series, as well as Shin’en’s Fast RMX already available on Switch. The biggest unique mechanic in Redout is that, as well as the standard steering and boosting, players are able to control their ship’s pitch as well as strafing from side to side. The ship is also highly susceptible to physical forces exerted on it by the track, such as sliding around on a curved surface and becoming borderline uncontrollable on the occasional tubular track. However, at the same time, the ability to strafe gives an extra layer of control over your ship, creating an experience that is highly challenging and incredibly satisfying, requiring a lot of practice and rewarding knowledge both of the tracks and of the game’s mechanics. This becomes especially true in the later stages of the over 200-mission single-player career mode.
The career mode is the main way both of unlocking tracks and of increasing your level, which determines which of the four classes you have access to. Higher classes mean generally higher stats, most notably an increase in speed. All your other stats increase to compensate: acceleration, top speed, grip, structure (which determines maximum health and regeneration rate), energy pool, and energy recovery rate. This means that the game gets more difficult at higher classes, both through the opponents and properly controlling your ship. That’s not to say the difficulty doesn’t spike even in the lower classes, with classes 2 through 4 all having their own particularly challenging stages. The wildly varying difficulty comes partly through the plethora of event types, such as time trials, standard races, tournaments, and last man standing where the racer in last gets eliminated each lap, as well as different rules on standard modes such as arena races with no respawning and speed trials where you stay above a target speed to gain bonus time, among several others.
All the stages and vehicles you’ve unlocked can be used in single races in addition to the career mode, which can help you get a feel for the game as well as just being an enjoyable diversion from the pressure of career mode. There’s not much to be gained from single races aside from better knowledge of stages and ships, but that can go a long way in the career mode. It’s especially helpful when the stakes are raised with random contracts that require you to race under specific conditions or place high for extra bonus money on top of the usual amount you get for completion, at the risk of a fine if you fail.
All that being said, that’s all there is for offline modes. There’s unfortunately no local multiplayer. The online multiplayer also seems to be somewhat dead, with no open lobbies when I tried looking and no one joining the lobbies I tried hosting. You could probably find people to play with if you looked, but just looking without that it seems like you may have a hard time if you want to play online.
The visuals are bright and striking, with a distinctive and pleasing low-polygon look, simple textures, and bright colours and lighting. The sense of speed is excellent, with the small size of the other racers on the track giving a sense of scale to the whole affair. The tracks are divided into several locales, including both regions of Earth as well as other celestial bodies such as the moon, Mars, and Europa, to name a few. Each locale has a distinct and beautiful look, with tracks bringing racers through deserts, over ice fields, through mountain ranges, and even underwater, all rendered in the beautiful visual style. The music is pounding electronic music, and I found it was great for helping me focus on the incredibly high-speed gameplay.
One problem that I ran into while playing Redout was less a problem of the game and more from the Switch itself. I was playing using the Joy-Con, but since I needed to hold down ZL constantly to accelerate while holding my thumb on the right stick to strafe, I found my hands cramping up, needing to awkwardly adjust my grip while playing somewhat frequently. Maybe it would be less of a problem for those with smaller hands, but for most people I would recommend finding some other, larger controller to use.
Redout is a game with beautiful visuals and great music to go with its incredibly enjoyable, fast-paced, and challenging gameplay. I do wish there was a local multiplayer mode and not just the seemingly dead online multiplayer, but there’s a wealth of single-player content with over 200 missions in its career mode that I wasn’t able to get all the way through in the roughly 20 hours I have between the Switch and PC versions. There’s a decent amount of variety through the different event types, ships, and stages, and with how much fun the racing itself is, even just knocking out a quick single race is a good time. It runs for $39.99 USD, not a bad price considering the surprising length of the career mode. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who misses F-Zero, or whoever wants a fun, fast, challenging sci-fi racer.
Review copy provided by publisher