DEVELOPER: tinyBuild Games/Hak Jak
REVIEW PLATFORM: Steam (Early Access)
I’ve often asked myself, “What would Happy Wheels look like if it were fueled by cocaine and made in 3D?” I no longer need to ask myself that question, because tinyBuild Games was more than happy to reach into my head and pull out that dream in the form of Guts & Glory, which was released today (February 16) on Steam for Early Access.
The premise to the game is basic—pick one of the racing options in front of you and use it to navigate the track without dying. Often you’ll have one of three choices: Johnny & Jimmy on a bike, Earl on an ATV, or the Yang Family driving in a car. The courses are set up in both time trial and achievement modes with various levels of difficulty and success you can reach. What sets the game apart from being an obvious clone is the 3D environment that you now need to traverse. The obstacles, weaponry, people and landscapes are well designed for the environment they’ve been programmed into. Once you get stuck with your first barrage of harpoons, you’ll feel right at home.
If you think about it, Happy Wheels is pretty straight-forward in logic and thinking when it comes to the objectives. Regardless of whatever perils you throw in the way, you’re sill on a 2D plane of existence with a goal sitting somewhere in front of you. Now with Guts & Glory, you’re forced to rethink your approach in ways you may never have expected. Sure, you may think you’re ready now that you’ve mastered every downloadable course known to man on the other title, but the real thing just doesn’t do your training justice. One of the many benefits I enjoyed was that taking damage wasn’t an inevitability, and that I could utilize structures and people around me as defense. Pretty nice to know I don’t have to automatically take a buzzsaw to the face if someone else will take it for me.
The real challenge will come from the controls, either one you choose comes with equal stability and issues. The keyboard utilized the arrow keys more than WASD, with power and camera options spread across the board that will have you looking down more than you care to. But they’re far greater than the controller where left toggle is your direction and right toggle is the camera. The button scheme is near improbable to manage which will leave you resetting frequently. The keys are the best way to go, but keep in mind, you can’t reprogram anything.
For an early access game, Guts & Glory serves it’s purpose. You can conquer many of the challenges pretty easily if you’re a master of anything involving flight simulation. The real fun is going to come when the community tracks are made available. You can already make your own designs right out the gate, but as of when this review goes live, the community sharing program is down and we can’t connect to test out other people’s insane creations. Once that gets going, that’s where a lot of people will have the most fun. If you’re a fan of Happy Wheels it’s a must try, but don’t expect anything to be easy. The controls are frustrating and dilute some of the fun, but once you get past that it’s pretty smooth sailing, even with your head sliced off.
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