80’s is back… sort of.
Being a rather big fan of car combat games like Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8, when Auto Age: Standoff landed in my inbox for review, I had some excitement and trepidation. Most games don’t seem to understand the right balance between car action heavy combat and fun abilities. Does Auto Age get past this feeling, or sit idle in the garage?
Tutorial and then…
Starting the game lead me to a nice retro 80’s style menu and music screaming at me about the Auto Age, it made a great first impression. I looked at the menu and aside from some online/offline MP modes, the only other option was tutorial, so I jumped in. The game starts with a story, a main character, some background information and more. Called me surprised but I didn’t expect this from a tutorial. The game begins to introduce the protagonist, antagonist, fully dialoged cut scenes and voice over and how the evil bad guy wants to take over the land, who looks and sounds a lot like a Skeletor impersonator. The game goes over the core mechanics and ideas about the game.
Price I’d Pay: $4.99
Multiplayer: Online/local splitscreen
How long to beat: 1+ hour
As I took my time, the story, while limited, started to develop. I was rather impressed with the way the tutorial was being utilized here and building not only the game world and story but how to play. Using the various cars, driving and shooting feel sublime. It’s easy to take quick turns and shoot at the other enemy vehicles that range from small to big with various speed and weapon changes. I was boosting around corners, making jumps, and taking out the AI bots. I told myself this game could be on to something.This would later prove to be truer than I expected.
After about 30 minutes or so, the tutorial ended, the story seemed to be just getting started and then… NOTHING. After that, there is nothing that compares to what the tutorial was providing in theme or execution. Now players are limited to four maps, to play death match and capture the flag online or using bots. Looking at the online player base, there wasn’t much of an option to actually play with other folks. The graphics looks decent enough in a Saturday 80’s cartoon way and the soundtrack is highly pleasing, but that’s about it. I’m left with a game that has little to show for it after a rather amazing tutorial and I can’t help but feel this game was either released unfinished or with a much bigger vision then what we got.
The tutorial here had me extremely impressed and brought the entire package and themes of the game to the forefront. Now if the multiplayer continued that or there was a single player story to keep this momentum going, this would have been an overall good package that takes advantage of its best elements. The driving is solid, the combat is ok, but the theme is excellent and it’s all surrounded by a game that just feels lacking. I love what the developers are going for here, but it feels like a huge squandered opportunity.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.