I got this game in a bundle and decided to keep it because I had never tried a top-down racer, and the overhead camera reminded me a lot of the original Grand Theft Auto, which I played extensively as a child.
If you like challenging racing games, then you will enjoy this one.
The aesthetics are very nice - the environment looks lush and fresh, and the car models are decently detailed. There is no visible car damage, however, you do see sparks when you grind againt walls. You cn paint your car from a set of given colors, but there is no customization beyond that (aesthetics or car upgrades). The music and sounds are very good, and help contribute to that intense racing feel.
The controls are straighforward, however, I would advise you to use a controller if possible. While the keyboard controls are good, the action and gameplay feels much more responsive when you use a controller (especially if you decide to try out manual transmission). The career mode offers license tutorial levels, which are essential for getting you familiar with the control scheme. The learning curve is minimal to moderate, depending on your experience with racing games.
Overall, each vehicle operates slightly different - reflected by their stats - making each race feel like you're driving a unique car. To unlock more cars, you need to purchase them, and you earn money by performing well while driving (ex: money bonuses for executing drifts, and even more for performing perfect drifts). Bonus money rates are pretty fair, however, there will be a bit of grinding before you can afford that class S sports car. Once you become comfortable with the game, try playing with the higher class/tier vehicles, as the bonuses are multiplied as you move on to higher-end racers.
The AI is fairly challenging, if you make a big mistake (like being fishtailed into the wall), you may find it extremely difficult to catch up to the competition. With time and practice, this shouldn't be a problem, as you will learn to anticipate the twists and turns and how to compensate with proper drift techniques (influenced by which car you pick, of course). The race track will always have a green arrow trail to show you a decent driving route, and turns (and hazards) will always be indicated by non-intrusive pop ups in the middle of the screen.
If you are into racers, give this game a try. Both the career and arcade mode offer fun racing moments, and the overhead perspective changes things up if you are used to the behind-the-wheel (or third-person)perspective.
DJSF @DJSF's Rogue Reviews