By: Quinn Potter
Remember that scene in Star Wars where young Anakin is pod racing? Well, if you’ve ever wanted to experience that for yourself, here’s another chance with Quantum Rush: Champions. This futuristic racing game has been available on STEAM since December 2014 and is now available on Xbox One.
There are a ton of controls, but they are pretty well placed and you can re-map them if you need. The problem is that the controls are quite sensitive, so new gamers will be easily frustrated. It’s super-easy to overcorrect (kind of like learning to drive a car) and three bumps on the side of the track will make you blow up (ok, not exactly like learning to drive a car), so that will lead to frustration unless you have a light touch.
Graphics are super sharp. You start on a futuristic race course that’s like a racing track, but, of course, you are flying a mini-hovercraft. Because you are flying, you have to navigate obstacles that are on the left, right, above and below you. This can be a bit tricky.
The different backdrops for racing really shine, graphically. This might be the best feature of the game. Race through futuristic cities, tunnels, in an underwater tube, scenic canyons and tropical locales with waterfalls.
The soundtrack is an endless loop of techno pop. Unless you are a serious Electric Daisy Carnival fan, this will certainly get on your nerves. The AI interface isn’t overly creative, either. There’s a very bland computerized voice that counts down the start of races, but that’s about it. Other flat, drone-like voices pop up as vocals in songs, but the words are largely indecipherable.
At the beginning, you get to chose from three types of hovercraft. Some have more armor, some go faster, some have better acceleration – basically you’re going to have to decide what trade-offs will give you the optimal racing vessel. When you’re in arcade mode, you have control over a number of variables.
First, choose your manufacturer who will be designing your vehicle. Next, pick your hovercraft. Third, decide on the type of race: against the clock (every few seconds the person in last place is eliminated), courier (pick up as many packages as you can; max of three and each package slows you down), damage control (speed increases as long as you race cleanly, without damage), death match (get rid of those opponents!), defeat the enemy (destroy the target as fast as you can), hit the target, single race (classic) and time trial (best time over three laps).
Fourth, go into arcade settings and pick your racetrack, direction, laps, opponents, opponent strength, your respawns and opponent respawns. There’s a lot to explore here and any small change can have a big impact on the type of game you’re going to have. It’s actually fun to tinker with all the variables, if you’re a detail-oriented racer.
In career mode, you can choose your manufacturer, which will drive your campaign options. Campaigns are kind of interesting because they give you a little backstory about the future, the races, and why you are racing. For example, you might be racing to win some “rare kilograms of a valuable substance,” to be “Champion of the Underworld,” or to show off the best armor. You can also pick your type of vehicle and type of race, but, unlike arcade mode, you don’t get to control the settings (which include racetrack, number of enemies, etc.).
In any of the games, you race against AI and there’s no online racing feature. This is unfortunate, because it would be a lot more engaging to race against friends either locally or online. As it stands, however, there’s a steep learning curve, little forgiveness, redundant soundtrack and an arbitrary AI system that seems unable to react to the player’s activity.
If you are an adrenaline junkie seeking the pure thrill of racing, Quantum Rush: Champions could be for you. The soundtrack is redundant and you can only race AI enemies, but the futuristic settings are sharp. There’s almost no narrative, so no need for complicated alliances or research. Just jump in and race.