First introduced at the Tokyo Game Show Monster Racer has kind of flown beneath pretty much everyone's radars. However at this years E3 we managed to get our hands on a copy of this quirky little racing title and it definitely shows promise. It's an interesting experience, especially for a DS title, but there is plenty of promise for both young and old gamers in the title.
At its core the game was described as a combination of Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario Kart and Pokemon. To explain that a bit let's break down the details some.
The game controls as a side scrolling adventure in the vein of the old 2-D Sonic from the Genesis days. Running, jumping and dodging various obstacles while trying to make it to the finish line as fast as you can remains the goal as well. Every aspect of the way it controls feels similar to these titles as well even down to the slight delay in jumping that Sonic had thanks to his constant motion.
Inevitable Pokemon comparisons will come in due to the monster unlocking system. There are over eighty unique monsters in the game and they are only accessible once you've managed to defeat them in a race. This means that if there's a particular monster that you're interested in controlling you will have to find and beat him to play as him.
Lastly we come down to the actual gameplay. Each of the monsters has their own special attacks and stages that they excel on, for example a snow creature will do better in the ice level. You power up these attacks with pick-ups found in the level and can then unleash attacks on the other racers. Some of these attacks are simple things like speed dashes that knock your foes around while others are near screen filling blasts that will let you take the lead. They are varied and give the game a strong dynamic to each race.
Expect to see this title making its way to store shelves August 15th. With Wi-Fi multiplayer and solid level design that is both fun and simple this is a game to be enjoyed with your friends. Don't let the cartoonish monster designs put you off of what is otherwise a fun experience. If you do we might just have to sic the big red monster from E3 on you.