GRIP is the spiritual successor to Rollcage brought to us by Caged Element Inc. I doubt you’ve ever heard of Rollcage, as it was massively overshadowed by its competitor, Wipeout . But it was also a lot of fun and so alongside a Kickstarter campaign, Caged Element aimed to revive this long forgotten gem. Currently GRIP is in early access and in comparison to the original gameplay from Rollcage, it is a faithful reimagining.
The game itself is just like any other racer with the added ability to drive upside down. Many of the tracks are designed in such a way to take advantage of this feature and so you’ll be seeing your fair share of tunnels and half pipes which allow you to go above and beyond other drivers. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also be able to collect power-ups and weapons throughout the course in order to deal with your rivals. As with any racing game I’d recommend a controller over the mouse and keyboard if you’re thinking about picking it up.
The biggest thing I noticed while playing the game was just how intense the gameplay was. The sheer speed accompanied with the ability to boost, as if you weren’t already going fast enough, will keep you on the edge of your seat as you narrowly avoid crashing out. Such speed in racing games is often accompanied with a high skill ceiling and an information barrier for player’s who don’t know the course layout and in this way GRIP is no different. Picking the game up for the first time and expecting to finish your first race in pole position just isn’t going to happen.
But there’s also a lot done to aid newer players who will likely be making a lot of mistakes. For example, the rate of acceleration is high and there’s a dedicated button for resetting your car to the centre of the track. Both of these features will reduce the impact of mistakes and allows players to get back to racing as soon as possible. And more often than not, for every rage-inducing mistake there is an equally awe-inspiring moment when you miraculously launch yourself into the air only to land perfectly aligned to the course.
For me, the stress of the races is the primary appeal of the game. That ultimate satisfaction when you manage to beat your best friend on the final lap, or to simply be the troll who ruins everyone else’s day. The weapons feel and look great, and in many ways echo those of games like Wipeout. There’s a lot we’re all familiar with – rockets, miniguns, mines, even a missile that’s eerily similar to Mario Kart’s “blue shell” which targets only the person in first place. But for every traditional weapon there are more specialised options such as the shield that protects your car’s rear, and the EMP which makes your enemies’ engine fail and HUD disappear.
In conclusion, GRIP is both a faithful remake of the original game Rollcage, and a typical entry for the arcade racing genre. In many ways GRIP is exactly what it intends to be, a fast-paced, intense arcade racer, and that it executes well. But in today’s gaming world there are thousands of titles which echo the same gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of insane moments in my short time playing, however there was nothing which I cannot imagine happening in any other racing game out there. GRIP simply does not do anything which any other racing game has not already done before it, and for that reason the game as it currently is in Early Access simply does not offer a unique experience.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.