Music rhythm games are still going strong this day an age with standouts like Beat Saber on VR, Thumper on Switch, and staples like AudioSurf still holding fond memories for most. So it’s no surprise to see this genre growing on the Nintendo Switch platform. The newest arrival, aptly named Music Racer, blends lane-changing driving with scoring big points to the beat of some catchy songs. Does it manage to keep pace with some of the competition though?
Music Racer is quite simple to dive in and play. You’ll pick a vehicle, choose an environment, and then select a song, and next thing you know, you’re engaging in some high speed, beat-catching gameplay in hopes of racking up a big score, and gaining needed points to unlock more content.
Vehicle selection is robust. You’ll find over cars to choose from, but nearly all of them will be locked right away, requiring you to save up some beat points to acquire them. Most of the vehicles you’ll gain access to will probably be quite familiar to most players. There’s a Lamborghini knock-off “Contach”, which is clearly a Countach, and you’ll find some pop culture rides here as well, such as a Tron Light Cycle, the “Lorean” which is clearly a DeLorean, and many more.
There are 14 environments to choose from, again most being locked from the start. Each track is a glowing, abstract adventure to race on with pulses, bursts of light, and more lighting your neon-filled path as you jam out to whatever tune you’ve selected. This game is definitely vibrant and visually on or above par with AudioSurf, making it a familiar but refreshed music experience to indulge in.
Once you’ve selected one of the 23 EDM (electronic dance music) tracks to jam on, you’ll dive into gameplay. You navigate your vehicle left and right across three lanes with the goal of collecting beat icons on each of the pathways. The more you collect, the more points you’ll score and those points are converted into your game currency, allowing you to buy those new sweet rides, as well as unlock more environments to play in. All of the songs are unlocked from the beginning of the game, so you can hop around as you choose. The music comes from artists like Isafold, Project F, and Tobu – none of which I was particularly familiar with, but I found I was enjoying quite a few of the tracks as I played. It should be noted that the big hook from this game when it released on PC is that it utilized your own local music library, however as the Nintendo Switch does not offer that functionality, this game has instead come packed with the included music mentioned.
There are four game modes you can partake in within Music Racer. Normal mode was the default, and you’ll encounter obstacles that reset your combo if hit, but otherwise there’s really no fail condition that I found. There’s also a Zen mode that removes the obstacles, a cinematic mode that exists for your background listening enjoyment without playing at all, and then a hard mode, which was basically normal mode except if you did hit one of the obstacles you instantly lost. In terms of a progression here, this is one of the more relaxed rhythm games I think I’ve played especially since Normal mode wouldn’t let me fail, no matter how many beat markers I would miss or barriers I seemed to hit. Granted, I wasn’t doing myself any favors in terms of unlocking content faster if I did poorly.
One of the standout moments that Music Racer employs is that when a beat drops, the game speed increases to insanely fast, and you’re flying through the track all of a sudden, doing your best to collect the markers and avoid barriers at all costs. It’s pretty chaotic, but quite fun I found! My only real complaint is that some of the tracks have much steeper curves, and so knowing where the markers are ahead of time was improbable. This goes against music games a bit in that you’re meant to know what’s coming up so that you can adjust on the fly. However, most of the courses handled this gracefully so it wasn’t a massive problem. Music Racer boils down to a no-frills chill rhythm game with some sweet visuals, catch EDM tracks, and plenty of stuff to unlock along the way.
Music Racer Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 6.5/106.5/10
- Lasting Appeal - 5/105/10
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
Music Racer is a quite reasonable addition to the rhythm game genre. It delivers a visually striking experience, with significantly non-challenging gameplay if desired. The music included is all typical EDM, but many of the songs are quite catchy and what should be expected in this genre. There’s a ton of visual unlocks, but otherwise the progression is pretty lackluster, so don’t expect to be playing this game for countless hours. That being said, for a $6.99 price point, it’s not going to break the bank to have a little fun.
Alex has been actively gaming since the release of the Nintendo. Turning passion into profession, he’s spent just over a decade in game development, and is currently the Creative Director at a studio.