This Rolling Car review has taken a little longer than anticipated. Why is that? Yes, why is that? Is it because it’s a 90+ hour open-world experience, or simply because there’s so much to see and do? Nope. It’s a rage-quit experience. For me, at least.
Now, some of these ‘retro gamers’ and YouTube personalities might attach a rage with “this is a bad game”, but I’m on the other side. RedDeer Games’ umpteenth release in so few weeks is thought-provoking, sleek, and arguably moreish. Whether you’re a masochist or not.
That thought-provoking element to Rolling Car isn’t on par with the words of Attenborough, but instead, you’ll have to take your time in this game – calculating each move with such precision that it’s like shaving your balls with a double-edge razor. Saying for a friend. One wrong move, and it’s all over.
The aim of the game is to get through a series of obstacle courses unscathed, collecting the nuts and bolts to pimp your ride and the obligatory three stars for a three-star rating. Tracks in the game are typically short, but it’s incredible how much time you’ll spend on a section either to get the timing right or because you’re frantically shaking the Switch because you keep effing it up.
You begin with a monster truck with suspension made of jelly. For each movement, the chassis will sway like one of those inflatable dancers you see at lame car showrooms. I say lame, I think they’re cool. There are a couple of alternative buttons to press based on your preference – opting for the shoulder buttons is one way, or the standard buttons and sticks to move back and forth with a boost and jump. Combine the two and gravity is a mere illusion.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect from my point of view is the perspective. It’s an isometric one that makes it look charming (Rolling Car on the Switch is a very nice looking game), but it’s not always practical. You’ll be navigating through numerous traps and obstacles, waiting for the next opportunity to progress, but maybe the tailgate gets clipped on the previous trap, and you lose health. With three health points, it doesn’t take long for a restart.
And though this can be incredibly frustrating, as can the switch toggles to open up timed platforms, the ‘play area’ was my biggest beef. Within a few minutes of the game, you unlock the propulsion trick that allows you to clear a large area when combined with a boost. While this can get you to safety, what often happens is you jump too far and off the track to an immediate death. Also, the rolling element in the game is the actual track.
Not every track incorporates the rolling mechanics (similar to a rolling road test device), but when they’re used, you need to apply a little more haste. In these situations, the track literally rolls out in front of you, and you progressively move in relation to the obstacles that appear, ensuring you don’t end up too far back; otherwise, you’ll fall off the track. There’s no time limit here, but you have to be quick because of the track disappearing behind you.
Rolling Car is a well-presented game and is mostly fun to play (when it goes right), but think again if you’re expecting a casual experience. In many respects, it’s a precision platformer but imagine navigating a bathtub around each level. That’s what it’s like sometimes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a hit for streamers like it did with Jump King, Getting Over It, and if you haven’t played it, My Eyes (highly recommended).
With Rolling Car on the Switch, you get value for your pennies. Sure, it’s not a game full of features, but the attention to detail when it comes to problem-solving makes this worthwhile. Yes, I rage-quit a few times but in a constructive way. If that’s believable. In short, I could only play in small doses before getting frustrated with the abrupt deaths, but, at the same time, I can objectively look at this as a challenging game that will keep you out of mischief for a bit until you lob the Switch at the wall.