Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Bugbear Entertainment
Publisher: THQ Nordic
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
The Grade: B+
Wreckfest Haiku Review
Spin outs! T-bones! Yeah!
Dude! Demolition derby!
Sofa car? Say what?!?
What is it? An experience in vehicular mayhem. Players drive a wide range of cars trucks and vans, and sometimes even lawnmowers and school buses, in brutal races and demolition derbies. The PC version of “Wreckfest” came out in June 2018. It was made available to console gamers this week.
Highs: “Wreckfest” is all about destructive fun and it delivers big time. While it has all the elements of a traditional racing game like “Forza Motorsport” or “Gran Turismo” it doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously. In those titles you want to avoid other drivers and strategically work your way around them or keep them behind you. In “Wreckfest,” car-to-car contact is required.
When “Wreckfest” pushes you to get physical it feels unnatural at first. After all, for your entire life you’re taught to avoid contact while driving. But once you get into the spirit of the game you’ll unleash your inner daredevil. There’s nothing quite like spinning out a rival or t-boning someone and watching their car flip over. It’s immensely satisfying.
Adding to the mayhem are some seriously impressive vehicle physics. Cars can take and give a pounding but watching your car get slowly whittled down to a nub is hilarious fun. In one derby, where I was facing off agains combines and a sofa car, I finished third after continuously slamming into a bus while only having three wheels. I didn’t even care that I didn’t win, I was having such a good time being in the moment.
When not advancing your single-player career and tinkering with the paint or tuning of your car, you’ll certainly want to jump into the multiplayer offering. Matches online are over-the-top racing and smashing, insanity. And unlike other hyper competitive multiplayer games, winning and losing doesn’t even matter. The craziness of the experience is what will keep you coming back for more even when you don’t win.
Lows: “Wreckfest” is a blast but it’s pretty rough around the edges. Some menu screens have pixelated glitches, you can’t customize your driver, driving some vehicles isn’t nearly as enjoyable as you might hope (I’m looking at you lawnmowers.) and there’s no tutorial to get you acclimated to the new style of racing the game has to offer. Long load screens will add to the frustration.
The Grade: While the game has some issues, it didn’t have much impact on my playthrough. The fun I was having made any concerns minor annoyances. A unique game that’s action-packed and priced just right, “Wreckfest” is a game worth diving into.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.