In the year 2016, 34bigthings released a brand-new Anti-gravity racer paying homage to the old greats like WipEout and F-Zero. This company had a single word and a single word only in their grand lexicon, and it was this: Speed.
Redout takes speed and its perception to the next level through the use of post-processing and unforgiving physics. Players playing Redout are met with an almost vertical learning curve of difficulty upon picking the game up, which is a detriment to newcomers. But that is beside the point. The game was geared towards enthusiasts; gamers that wanted a true challenge; veterans of high-speed racing games.
Redout is extremely fast, there is no doubt about it. But to complement speed, there must be highly developed controls. To this end, the developers of Redout delivered an interesting and mechanically challenging system in blazing force. There are three things to consider when creating a racing game. These are turning, boosting and damage. First off, turning is no easy task, especially at such speeds (upwards of 1300 km/h). The game has you use something called strafing, where much like a motorcycle, one must lean into their turns. [Note: that this is different from drifting, where one leans the opposite direction from which they turn]
This seems contradictory, but it all culminates into one grandiose display of skill once mastered. Drifting will always make you lose speed, but when used in conjunction with standard strafing, tighter turns can be achieved. This is what the community calls pre-strafing where you drift for a millisecond before leaning into the appropriate strafe. This is quintessential for the tight turns that litter the race track.
Another feature that Redout incorporates differently from its anti-gravity racing counterparts is the inclusion of pitch. When moving up a hill, the player must lean back to prevent grinding on the floor and must lean forward when moving down a hill. All of this is done in order to preserve speed. Trust me when I say every kilometer per hour counts.
The next aspect to talk about is boosting. Every ship comes with a meter to the right that dictates the amount of ‘boost’ the player can engage. Think of it as a nitro gauge. A big part of the game is knowing when to boost. Misused boost can lead the player to crash headfirst into walls, miss jumps and even risk destruction. Ideally, the player would engage the boost when finishing a turn, bumping off a wall or when driving on a long straight stretch of track. Using the boost in these key moments would ensure that the racer gets the most out of their boost gauge. There are nuances, however, the larger your gauge, the longer to boost and the longer your boost, the stronger it gets. So sometimes it might be a bit more reasonable to save your boost. The boost gauge is also used to activate items, which I won’t spoil. Let’s just say that you’re going to be using them… a lot.
The final element in terms of mechanics is damage. When the player hits the wall, grinds on the floor, or crashes into other players, their health gauge on the left of their ship begins to deplete. However, if the player stops crashing and drives unimpeded for some time, the health bar will begin to regenerate. Now it may seem simple right? Just don’t crash! But it’s a tad more complicated than that. Sometimes the fastest way around a corner is to bump off the wall. This adds an extra layer of management to the game, one must decide whether it is worth bumping or risk the loss of speed in favour of health. Fear not, however, remember those active items I mentioned earlier? I won’t spoil much but one of them is a repair drone. So beginners, fear not!
The visuals of Redout complement its speed. The game runs at 1080p at 60fps on standard edition consoles and 60fps 4K on upgraded systems. And would you believe it? It never drops a frame! Take a moment and appreciate that. The way it accomplishes this is through a minimalist polygon count, imitating a vapor wave aesthetic. This saves memory for performance because graphically it is not intensive. Redout still remains visually appealing despite this technical downgrade because it finesses this low polygon count into its style. The game still looks good!
Additionally, to simulate speed, the game uses post-processing such as blur and light stretching. Some people will scoff at this because this effect tends to be distracting. However, in this case, I believe it is a blessing. The rush of the motion blur and the visual of light soaring past your cockpit makes the player feel fast and like I said, 34bigthings know only one word: Speed.
Opinion alert! Redout is a super fun game. I will admit, I was turned off at first due to the high difficulty wall, but when it clicks, this game is an absolute time sink and candy for the eyes. Personally, I love games with high skill ceilings, and the feeling of progression through one’s own skill is an addictive experience. So, in terms of fun factor, this game rates a 10/10.
You can probably guess my final verdict for this game. And if you haven’t, I say buy this game!
Redout goes on sale very often and if you can pick it up for $7, you will not be disappointed.