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BlazeRush Review: High Octane Racing

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BlazeRush is a top-down combat-first arcade racer that has a huge focus on vehicle-to-vehicle combat. It's all about the racing!

Product Brand: Targem Games

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $9.99

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

Arcade racers have always been somewhat of a niche attraction for the huge, huge racing genre. These games mostly allow you somewhat small levels of customization in the choice of race track, number, and type of opponents (and to some extent, even the difficulty) and allow the player to race off in a virtual arcade against these opponents. These games have been a part of video game arcades since the ’90s and gradually evolved to become the racing games of today. BlazeRush is one such game that seems to have been caught in the era between the first appearance of racing games in video game arcades and the open-world racing games we have today. Initially launched in 2014, the game received quite a few updates to adapt the experience for a more modern audience (and for more modern hardware). In this review, we’ll be looking at these changes and thinking out loud about how the game stands out in today’s video game industry.

BlazeRush is an arcade racer described as a “top-down vehicular combat video game” by the developers. Developed and published by Targem Games, the game is about racing in exotic locations in a top-down fashion while occasionally using guns, nitrous, and other tricks to get the edge in the competition. The game was released for PlayStation 3 and Steam in October 2014 and saw a re-release very recently with new features as it was adapted for the PlayStation 4.

Speed Racer Lite

Speed Racer Lite

I remember playing a game called Speed Racer back when I was very little. I did not have a computer in those days, so I had to ask my mom for spare change so I could run to the nearby arcade on weekends or after a half day at school. There was a game there called Speed Racer which everyone wanted to beat – apparently if you beat the game and got gold medals on all tracks, you could win a bootleg console of your own (these are the very same consoles that used to be developed to provide a gaming experience for folks who could not afford an actual Nintendo console). No one ever won that trophy – the arcade eventually closed down and went out of business – but the fond memories of the game itself are still etched in my memory. BlazeRush borrows heavily from Speed Racer – both games offer a top-down view of racing. The only difference might be that BlazeRush had elements of combat which was borrowed from Mario Kart, whereas the main camera was dynamic and moved as the cars progressed along the track. Of course, the game itself is 3D while Speed Racer is 2D – but it only goes on to show how fast video game technology has evolved.

BlazeRush is a 3D remake of Speed Racer with added combat features.

There is a huge focus on combat in the game, possibly even more so than racing itself. In Mario Kart, the main aim is to win the race and use whatever powerups you have to help achieve that. BlazeRush, however, casually offers tools for mass destruction that allow players to blow up opponents, drop them from the track, push them off a tough bending, see what powerups the enemies have, and so on. The game feels like a Hot Wheels race track being set up for Mad Max junkies and their kids. There’s bound to be a lot of chaos, even more so as the number of racers increases.

The game teaches the basics in the first few races and offers some helpful tips. From then on, there’s no handholding – it’s up to the player to decide how they want to play. Heavier vehicles have more control over the tracks but tend to be slower, whereas lighter vehicles tend to move very fast over the tracks but tend to be faster. Vehicles hit by arms tend to get dislodged from their original path – the displacement is higher for lighter vehicles. There seems to be a slight favor towards heavier vehicles since it is very easy to dislodge a leading vehicle from the tracks with the help of weapons. As a lighter vehicle, the main strategy is to maintain a huge lead on the opponents, so that is what they do. Since the camera tends to focus on where a majority of the players are, there may be difficulties in staying ahead by a huge margin and continuing to stay ahead without the camera being focused – there is a need to “guess” the next path to take to reach the finish line eventually while maintaining the lead.

BlazeRush is a combat-first and race-later racing game that has a huge focus on vehicular battles.

The game offers several race tracks that need to be unlocked one by one in the main Campaign mode. Once unlocked, they can be played against AI opponents or a match can be hosted online or on a LAN against human opponents. A budget Mario Kart that is available for PC that offers the fun of blowing other vehicles up while giving players the feel that they are in a Hot Wheels race course is the feel I got while in multiplayer. At the end of each “biome”, a grand race takes place – where the victor takes the spoils. Earning a podium finish in this race unlocks the next biome to move on to.

High Definition Done Well

High Definition Done Well

The game has been remastered with HD graphics for the PlayStation 4, so it looks marginally better as compared to its previous version (which was developed with the PlayStation 3 in mind). The camera movement was way shakier than the original one, which has been fixed with the graphical changes. Special effects also look much better after the visual upgrade, especially from bullet fires or saws deflecting off the racetrack. The best changes possibly are in the shadows being rendered, which make the tracks look a lot better than before. Overall, the HD upgrade was a nice change for the game.

BlazeRush is a well-done high-definition remaster.

Most of the music has been redone to improve the quality as well. The high-octane music being played helps give the adrenaline boost that the players need while playing the game. Sound effects like guns being fired or vehicles dropping off the drop and exploding are much clearer than before. The game does not have any framerate issues as such, but in general, these are highly unlikely to be found in games made with the PlayStation in mind (I tested it on a PlayStation 5).

Rush for the Blazing Finish

Real Talk

BlazeRush has been revamped in a way that helps older players take a nostalgia trip back to their younger days when arcades used to be a thing in their localities. Considering the overall decline of the “top-down” racer formula, the game stands out significantly with its mechanics as no other games in the market offer vehicular combat with a top-down view at the moment. Newer folk might have some trouble adjusting to the camera movements, but it is a very cheap game that one can buy and try out as that one fun party game with friends and family.

BlazeRush Review

BlazeRush Review
60 100 0 1
BlazeRush is a dynamic arcade racing survival game with no health, no levelling and no brakes! You can assemble a team of friends to play in local or online multiplayer, choose a car to your taste and chase, blow up and cut off! Adapt your style and tactics to new enemies, obstacles and tracks.
BlazeRush is a dynamic arcade racing survival game with no health, no levelling and no brakes! You can assemble a team of friends to play in local or online multiplayer, choose a car to your taste and chase, blow up and cut off! Adapt your style and tactics to new enemies, obstacles and tracks.
Total Score

The Good

  • Decent track design
  • Vehicular combat like nothing in the market
  • HD graphics done properly

The Bad

  • Remaster done a little too late
  • Entry in an otherwise "dead" genre
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