Most of this review can be summed up one way, and that's by saying this is a 1C game.
1C are Russian game developers characteristically known for how alien their games feel. They've gotten better in recent years, but this is an old school 1C game from 2003, back when you wondered if they were from another planet. If you want to play RC Cars, you're going to have to work for it.
To get this game to work correctly, you primarily have to do two things:
- Manually set the game's framerate (otherwise it won't run properly). I suggest 60fps.
- Manually set your controller's analog senstivity AND the analog deadzone (otherwise, you won't be able to control your vehicle).
Once you do this, you'll be able to navigate the game's confusing menu system and eventually compete in a race. The game itself is pretty difficult; the cars themselves seem to almost have sort of a simulation feel to them. What this means is that any little bump in the road will often fling you wildly out of control, just like a real RC car. But, with enough finesse, you'll eventually come to grips with it.
Tracks are laid out in obtuse patterns. Early tracks follow the typical racing game format of circuits, but it's not long until 1C takes the "checkpoint race" concept in more esoteric directions, leading you down narrow dead ends and back out again. Tracks themselves take you across beaches, deserted ghost towns, mines, busy highways and active military bases.
Vehicles can be customized, but not much. Each of the four or five available vehicles have several different paint jobs, and can be upgraded in three categories: boost, engine, and tires. Upgrades cost money, which can be won by completing championship races. What you might not realize at first is that you also have to pay to enter championship races; on one occasion I spent so much on vehicle upgrades that I had grind for more money just to do the next race.
Would I recommend the game? Given that it's only $5, sure. It's not going to blow your socks off, and you might actually end up getting annoyed eventually, but it's just different enough from the norm that I think it's probably worth it.