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Xenon Racer Review

Neon Drifting: World Tour

The world of motorsports is one that’s always being improved upon at a rapid pace. Whether it’s reducing wind resistance by creating a new style of chassis or developing a new fuel injection system to make the most of every drop of gas, science is the driving force behind all of these improvements and adaptations. Indie developer 3DClouds take a step into the near future with their second ever title, one that draws a lot of inspiration from well-known arcade racing series while slapping on a fresh new paint job that helps bring it into the 21st century.

Xenon Racer is set in the year 2030, where several car manufacturers have decided to create their own racing championship to show off the latest electric car technology in light of the lead racing competition moving towards flying vehicles. With this, you get an amazing range of differently designed vehicles; some reminiscent of the hypercar and Formula 1 designs of today, as well as some more concept-style vehicles that show off the creative minds of the designers. This also goes for the locations – you’ll get to travel all over the world, from Tokyo to Dubai, with beautifully detailed renditions of the cities and their not-too-distant-future landscapes.

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As with any racing game, the most important thing is how the cars feel to drive. Xenon Racer attempts to hit that nostalgic feel of classic arcade games like Ridge Racer and F-Zero. The idea of driving super fast all of the time and taking corners at those ridiculous speeds is at the core of the racing here. The drifting can feel a bit snappy at the start, as you try to find the sweet spot between hitting the perfect angle of attack into a corner and being pulled back out of your drift. As you practice it more and more though, you can find that perfect driving line that allows you to build up the most boost possible and shave those valuable seconds. The one aspect of control that does seem a bit unbalanced is the basic handling of cars in general. Even though you can use cars that statistically have a better handling rating, it’s not enough to really feel the difference. Most of the cars feel super heavy, which can build frustration when you’re simply trying to move in between other cars or take an easy turn but end up in the guardrail instead. Rather than let you take turns at your leisure, the game seems to want to push you into drifting at every single opportunity, no matter how easy or severe a corner is. This is understandable in keeping with the game’s themes, but the drifting takes time to master, and each car’s drifting ability can be different.

The music in Xenon Racer is a definite highlight. There’s some great menu and loading music that, again, feels akin to the OST of games like Ridge Racer (2004). To accompany these tracks is a selection of music from the record label Monstercat (including tracks from Pegboard Nerds & Nanobii). With an amazing spread of tracks across electronica, house and drum and bass genres, it does a lot to accompany the visuals and breakneck pace of the game.      

Final Thoughts

Xenon Racer hits its mark pretty well. There are many things that can easily over complicate an arcade racer, and even though not everything has a tonne of polish, Xenon Racer smartly focuses on just a few key areas. The result is an enjoyable, casual racing experience for those looking to step away from the higher profile simulator racing games and play something with a bit more style.

Reviewed on PlayStation 4 // Review code supplied by publisher

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Xenon Racer Review
Smooth Slidings
Proof that sometimes having a strong visual identity can go a long way to pulling you into a game.
The Good
Aesthetics reign king
Satisfying drifting mechanics
Awesome soundtrack adds atmosphere
The Bad
Some upgrades feel ineffective
Clunky menus kill the pace
7
Good
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  • 3DClouds
  • Soedesco
  • PS4 / Xbox One / Switch
  • February 27, 2019

Xenon Racer Review
Smooth Slidings
Proof that sometimes having a strong visual identity can go a long way to pulling you into a game.
The Good
Aesthetics reign king
Satisfying drifting mechanics
Awesome soundtrack adds atmosphere
The Bad
Some upgrades feel ineffective
Clunky menus kill the pace
7
Good
Written By Zachary Reardon

Zachary is a console gamer at heart, but is slowly coming over to the PC side. Rhythm games like Project Diva and Groove Coaster are his comfort food, but is happy to dive into any genre if it looks enticing enough. His favourite game of all time is Portal 2 despite his struggle with modern puzzle games. Twitter - @simply_daft PSN - SimplyDaft Twitch - Simply_Daft

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