FIREBURST is the latest over the top racing
game from developers INDIEPUB who use the unreal engine to create this
almost flawless racing experience. Reminiscent of games such as
MotorStorm and my late 90's favourite Powerslide, by Australian
developers Ratbag, this game is classic racing.
At its speedy racing heart, FIREBURST feels
like a classic off-road racer, even though there roads that you race on
but the reason I link this game to Powerslide is due to the simplicity
of the gameplay, sharp graphics and enjoyment factor. FIREBURST doesn't
try to be too clever but rather provides PC gamers with a fun racing
experience and a rather clever twist!
The twist in FIREBURST is fire. Fire and
heat are used throughout the various gameplay modes to not only
disadvantage your competitors by helping them overheat or blow-up but it
also gives you access to nitro aka super speed. Gameplay modes in the
title include both single player and multiplayer (online and split
screen), however in our intensive testing we could never find any online
players to play which is a shame. Splitscreen works but it is a little
crowded, even on a 28" LCD screen for the PC.
The Single player modes includes quick
race, fireburst racing league, race (custom) and destruction. In league
you just don't race as you need to complete certain challenges to
progress like holding boost down for a number or seconds or completing
some other task that at times can be frustratingly difficult or even
multiple tasks and then a position in the top 3. Multiplayer on the
other hand contains online race, split screen race, online destruction
and split screen destruction.
Racing takes place in a variety of
different environments from deserts to oil rigs and even arenas that is
fun for the destruction mode that is similar to smash derby. Players can
also select a variety of racers to control, each with their pros and
cons. For example Samantha, the Euro-Goth racer chick is an all round
racer who has similar scores for speed, acceleration, handling and heat
However when you choose the various cars in
the game, these will enhance your racers statistics such as giving you
more speed or heat resistance for example. Each of the cars also have
their own special powers such as fire wheels which leaves a deadly trail
of fire for your enemies. Needless to say, there's lots of great cars to
Other characters in the game include
Hightower the dwarf, Izzy the Rocker, Melvin the Geek, Shawn the
professional race car driver, Hanako the Japanese school girl, Jack the
Cowboy and Moses the Biker. Each of these characters have their
strengths and weaknesses.
Additional characters are unlocked as you
proceed through the League, including more vehicles. Controls are well
mapped on the keyboard but a gamepad is far superior in terms of
accuracy. As mentioned, apart from racing, fire plays a key aspect to
the gameplay which some interesting gameplay moves and nothing is more
fun than unleashing this deadly fire on your opponents.
Let's talk about the special powers.
Fireboost is basically nitro but your car can overheat if used too much.
However if you drive through water, it cools your car down. There are
also barrels on the track that either cool your car down or heat your
car up which must be avoided at all costs. If you activate fireball, it
makes you invincible for a time and will destroy other cars that can
definitely trigger the balance in a game.
My favourite power was Fireblast which puts
a ring of fire around your car and should an opponent touch it, it will
destroy their cars. Firewall is another power that puts a flame wall in
front and behind your car to heat up your opponents. Lastly we have
firewheels that puts fire around your wheels and leaves a deadly track
for other racers to drive through. As mentioned fire does add an element
of strategy into a rather generic "off-road" racer and should your car
be destroyed, you respawn in a few seconds. Nonetheless, the gameplay
Graphics & Audio
Graphically, the title looks great on FULL
HD and boasts some silky smooth framerates. As the game uses the Unreal
Engine, the graphics do appear a little dated and sometimes the physics
are a little askew. You have a couple of different views in the game
from bonnet to outside car view which is far superior in terms of
navigating the environment.
The characters in the game are well
modelled and there's some decent lighting and special effects used such
as the wicked and deadly. Sound effects are good, although the voice
acting does gyrate on your nerves as it becomes too repetitive. The
music features a heavy metal soundtrack that features songs from Kai
Walter featuring Gregor and Until Broadway. Rocking cool!
All in all, FIREBURST is a fun racing for
the PC that would definitely be more fun on the XBox 360 or PS3 due to
its arcade nature. Even so, it works well on the PC but a gamepad
definitely enhances the experience. Let's hope it becomes more popular
because I'm dying to test out multiplayer online which I'm guessing is
far more enjoyable than the single-player mode. Race on!