When a review is marked as ‘in progress’, it is done on the basis that enough time has been invested to obtain solid impressions even though we have been unable to beat it. This may be down to an extreme length or brutal difficulty, but either way it is a title that has overcome us… at least for a period of time.
Games marked as such will receive the usual review treatment, plus some additional footage to help give you a general idea of what to expect. These games will likely be finished at some point, and the review will be updated accordingly. As such, keep checking back if you want to keep a track of our full final thoughts when we have them!
Many thanks to THQ Nordic for the review code.
Ancient gamers like myself may recall the Destruction Derby series from back in the day. I was personally familiar with the original, which I played on the PC. It was fine as a driving game, but the fun came in smashing up all the cars in a semi-realistic way.
Like a phoenix, Wreckfest rises from the ashes of this dead series in the form of a spiritual successor. It has racing, it has destruction, it has silliness – and it also looks like a game that would have no chance of running on the Nintendo Switch.
Does the game succeed at bringing back the classic formula, or is it a total write-off?
BATTLE OF THE BENTLEYS
Wreckfest wears its ridiculousness on its sleeves, and is proud of the comic destruction that runs at the heart of the game. Starting out, you’ll have but a mere lawnmower and your goal is to smash up your opponents at a painfully low speed. It’s a nice introduction to the realistic damage physics the game has, and also how stupid the game feels.
After this tutorial-of.-sorts, you’re free to select any of the beginner championships that takes your fancy. There’s no story, so you’re only out to earn enough points to unlock the next series of events. It’s a bit like Pro Gymnast Simulator in a way, but as a marginally more serious racing game.
There are quite a few events for you to try out, but they mainly boil down to racing events, destruction events, or a combination of the two. An example of the latter is a great figure 8 track that has you flying in the air as the paths cross. It’s complete carnage. That’s not to say the other events are less destructive either, as enemies are both difficult and aggressive – something that adds to the overall difficulty for people who aren’t great at racing games either.
Completing events will earn you upgrades and cash to help purchase new vehicles or to kit out existing ones. There’s the usual assortment of vehicles on offer, but then there are some crazier ones too. You think you’ve seen it all after racing around on a sofa, but that’s nothing compared to some of the later ones, which include Mad Max style battle busses and a driveable portaloo. Some of these special ones are even introduced in earlier events to help spice things up, such as an excellent lawnmower race that has a combine harvester causing havoc as you zoom around the track.
As alluded to earlier, the game is tough and racing amateurs will likely have a difficult time even on the easiest setting. I found myself coming in first only on the very rare occasion, but it’s something that seems to be done on purpose. Whilst gamer’s may lament that it may be too hard, having such a constantly intense and chaotic experience is where the main fun is to be found with Wreckfest and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Part of what makes it all work is that the game controls pretty much perfectly. Not every vehicle is easy to control, but they feel right. Damaged vehicles become harder to control and end up sliding around, but it’s something you can use to your advantage once you know how to deal with it. Damage works both ways too, so slamming into your opponents can be enough to give you the edge and take over. The developers really thought it all out well, and it works.
For the more socially inclined, Wreckfest can be played online up to 16 players and it fares pretty well for the most part. There can be the occasional issue when there are a lot of cars and things start getting crazy, but rarely enough to spoil your enjoyment. The game really is a technical marvel considering just how good it all looks.
For those looking for a very different racing experience, Wreckfest offers hectic fun that runs surprisingly well considering how nice it looks. The difficulty may be off-putting to some gamers, but being any easier would ruin this intense experience.