tl;dr -> Mario Kart on foot. If you ever wanted to punch your friends in the face, play this game instead. 11/10 you'll want to punch them in the face anyway.
I was fortunate enough to get this game gifted to by a friend, and I was very excited to try it out after seeing all the powerful positive reception. I was very satisfied with my experience, and this has easily become one of my top (local) multiplayer games.
If you like comedic racing with item pickups (in the vein of games like Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing), then you will really enjoy this game.
The aesthetics are good - the detail in the environment is nice, and the artsyle is colorful and matches the tempo of the game. The different character models are well-done, and some of them have interesting jump animations (ex: the shark character dives forward and the cat character rides a broom). The music and sounds are very good, however, I usually play my own music to add to the intensity of the gameplay.
Controls are simple and easy to familiarize yourself with. I strongly recommend playing with a controller - especially if you are doing local multiplayer. The tutorial is quick and very helpful in showing you all the game mechanics. The learning curve is mostly minimal, however, mastering the game and understanding each map takes some time. Maintaining momentum is critical to success, and practice will really help you understand the most efficient way to traverse through each map (ex: knowing when to jump vs. double-jump to get across a section). Whenever I play with my friends, we like to start from the first map and play through all the available ones (they are ranked in ascending order of difficulty).
Gameplay really shines if you can play (local or online) with a few friends - this is my top local multiplayer game at the moment of writing this review. As you race, the screen gradually shrinks toward the middle, and touching the red edges (usually happens if you are trailing behind) will cause you to explode and be knocked out. Interestingly, there have been rare moments where being in the lead too much has caused me to die (but I think it's because I touched the "ceiling" before the lagging players could be knocked out. 4 players can play at a time, and the round ends whenever only one player remains - the first to 3 points wins the map. Whenever a round ends, all players will respawn in the immediate area (this can cause hilarious situations if the starting point is somewhere very inconvenient - like a multiple wall-jumping area). My friends and I have gotten the screen to shrink into an extremely tiny square in the middle (we don't know if there is an upper limit for how small the screen can get) before someone won.
Throughout the map, there are hazards like spikes/lasers (they will stun you for a few crucial seconds), boxes (usually a set of them in a row), and drops (insta-death). Boxes respawn, and a common technique is to let someone take the lead initially if you are unfamiliar with the map - especially since momentum can cause you to hit multiple boxes if you aren't fast enough in recovering. Usually, there are switches throughout the map that allow the person in the lead to manipulate the field a bit. For example, triggering a switch (you just need to run over it) may cause a route to be blocked off, opening a new one for the people behind you that is longer/more difficult. Sometimes, however, it is a better idea to avoid the switch, as they may also open routes that act as shortcuts for people lagging behind.
There are also items you can pick up, and this is my favorite part of the game - I am an item ♥♥♥♥♥, and will purposely go for items just to see what I randomly get. Pickups may be things like homing rockets, a set of boxes you can drop, a pulling hook (switched places between you and the person in the lead), or a freezing beam. I do not know if this is a bug, but something I've encountered is a delay when you use the ice beam right before a round ends - instead of having the item wasted, it seems to activate right after the next round starts, freezing anyone in front of you.
There are white areas on the ceilings that allow you to use your grappling hook to swing around. Some advanced techniques include swinging to propel yourself up a wall-jumping area and swinging to redirect your forward momentum (in the right direction). Boost areas also litter the map, and using a boost will make your character move considerably faster. Your boost gauge carries over even after death, so one technique I use it to save my boost for an ideal situation (ex: don't waste it if I am extremely far behind).
All of the DLC's are for purely cosmetic - there are no differences between characters except for the movement animations. From what I've experienced, the online multiplayer community is both active and friendly.
Overall, the game is fantastic for anyone who enjoys comedic, fun racing. It is currently a steam daily deal, and this price is honestly a steal - even if you were to treat it as a finished product with no future developer support.
DJSF @DJSF's Rogue Reviews