When the Road Redemption Kickstarter campaign was announced, it sounded too good to be true. They essentially promised an HD spiritual successor to Road Rash—the arcade motorcycle racing genre classic. Recently the Road Redemption alpha was released, and I’ve gotten a feel for the game’s mechanics and a few of its crazy new game modes. So far I think the team is on the right track to developing a fun and worthy next-gen successor.
I’ve got the need for speed…
As this is first and foremost a racing game, you can tell a lot of attention has been paid to getting the handling on the vehicles right. The sense of speed and acceleration is satisfying and engaging as you race at breakneck speeds. Braking is required around tight corners, but the handling is tight enough to allow you to weave in and out of traffic easily while keeping the pedal to the metal. I’m sure when the full game is released, bike upgrades will offer different handling/acceleration/top speed options, as there is a money feature which doesn’t have any use in the alpha. The other racing feature is a boost meter which gets recharged when you wreck other riders.
When boosting, the graphics get a wonderful blur effect as you rush through the desert or winter landscapes. Small details like the timer on the pipe bomb becoming blurry and hard to read while boosting show attention to detail even at this early stage. On Ultra settings, the graphics are quite impressive. I only experienced a little slowdown during the most hectic segments of the wilder game modes.
Even with only eight levels, the variety of modes were the best parts of the alpha. They include:
Classic Race: Finish 1st or 2nd to advance
Timed Battles: Defeat a certain number of riders before time runs out
Sticky Bomb Race: Finish 1st or 2nd; try not to blow yourself up
Pipe Bomb Race: One of my favorites, but be careful with the timer
Crazy Traffic Modes: These involve either making the traffic drive erratically,
all incoming cars will try to swerve into you,
or cars raining down from the sky!
Combat is the other main mechanic of the game, and the creators have the melee combat pretty tight even at this early stage. You start out with one weapon, but can have up to three equipped. You earn these new weapons by wrecking other players. Weapons range from various melee options like bats, samurai swords, and lead pipes to more exotic fare like sticky and pipe bombs. I did miss the stun baton and pepper spray from the Road Rash series, but the developers have promised the stun baton in the full release. You can also kick enemies away from you, and it’s incredibly satisfying to push them into traffic. To give the combat a little depth there is a deflect mechanic. It’s hard to pull off, but is incredibly useful for some of the harder races.
This being an alpha build of the game, there are bound to be some glitches. Thankfully these are few and far between, and pretty funny as well. A few times during the crazy car mode, I crashed and respawned as a car tried to run me down, sticking me to the front of their vehicle. Thankfully, I only had to restart a level once because of this. Other little glitches are tells that the game is still in its early stages. You can gather money, but can’t use it for anything. Load times can be a little long as well. Aside from these minor quibbles, the game has a lot of polish.
This is a game that, even in its early form, is simply a lot of fun to play. Even crashing is fun thanks to the ragdoll physics. The racing is fast and tight, the AI is tough and aggressive without suffering from ‘rubber-banding’ difficulty, and combat is fun and unpredictable. The alpha represents a great slice of a game that is shaping up nicely and the best Kickstarter campaign that I have funded so far. I hope to see more of the promises made from the project (including online multiplayer, campaign mode missions, guns, and the convoy assault mode in particular) as the game progresses with development. You can still donate via PayPal on the developer’s Kickstarter page to help the team reach their stretch goals of Xbox 360 and Oculus Rift support! Remember to stay tuned to TheNerdyBomb for all your Road Redemption updates.
Check out full HD gameplay of the Road Redemption alpha here!