A swirling descending track, gentle blue checkpoints, all suspended in an empty space with some balls racing downwards, thirsting for first. The thing is, this victory will only come by cheating.
I have a certainty that the developers from WONDERFUL LASERS lost a lot of races when they were younger children, this thinking comes to light because of the way you have to play Super Impossible Road in order to win. It’s a race, but it isn’t a race where you just overtake the opponents, this is a race where you jump corners…literally. This game does what RED CARD did for Football games, takes the structure and standard conventions from a genre, and demolishes it with pure insanity.
As I write this preview, the game is still in Early Access, so as you’d expect game modes are limited, features are buggy, and crashes are likely – although despite this the game has a wondrous charm about it, and not only that, it’s really rather polished up. The main intro screen dresses the game up as exactly what it is, a pick-up-and-play arcade racer. The image above is what it looks like, and I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me in saying that this type of title screen could be seen in an airport or dock arcade. Already, from this screen alone, it’s obvious to see that accessibility, and approachability are two core strives of the game..
The main menu introduces you to a nice, sleek, industrial, yet futuristic themed grid menu of which there’s a few options, the rest will be coming in later updates. Quite a bit of thought has gone into SUPER IMPOSSIBLE ROAD’s main menu as it’s super accessible, being easy to navigate quickly.
This is a game that is instantly engaging, it’s got everything you’d want for an adrenaline fueled ball-fest
Enough about the menus now, let’s get into the game. Athos and Keres, I’m unsure if these two tracks given names are related in any way to Greek mythology, but Athos is the oldest surviving monastic community in the world, known as Mount Athos, which can be dated back to Byzantine times. Keres, whose name rang a bell, is the name given to the Greek female death-spirits, the daughters of Nyx, that Goddess of night. All this makes sense, as the track itself is dark, and sinister.
The tracks are all procedurally generated, and during the track selection, there are options to alter the seed and generation of the map a smidge. Choosing a track with more complexity means racing on a track with more corners, more curves, and more twists, all elements that can make your race that little bit complicated. The length does as you’d expect, extending the track. You can also change the AI Racer intelligence from smart to incredibly smart.
There is an option for having four players playing on the same screen, but because I’m a loner I’m sticking to single-player for this preview. There is also going to be an online mode in a future release where you can play globally online, but that’s under construction at this moment in time. You get the option to choose a colour for your ball, the overall style of the ball is not changeable, but at least you have a variety of colours.
The race starts with a bunch of balls, lined up in their starting positions, a countdown is introduced, and suddenly you’re all rushing to become number one. The race is initially quite fast and littered with checkpoints requiring your attention and application of reflexes due to the fact the track itself is only a few centimeters wider than your ball. Then again, this isn’t Rainbow Road, if you fall off, you don’t respawn back to where you fell, not in that sense anyway. If you fall off, your screen will begin to fade out to whatever colour the background of the world is, and once it’s fully faded, you’re back to the last checkpoint you rolled through. It is possible to stop the respawn, all you need to do it hit the track again before the fade out is completed.
Shortcuts need to be planned in a sense, because although this game is about cheating, it doesn’t take away the inevitable karma of cheating. Some parts you may believe are a fantastic place to jump off the track and land to the curl below, but sometimes that curl, or your propulsion works against you, sometimes the track you’re aiming for is too far to warrant a shortcut and thus a full fade out causes a respawn. Respawns aren’t just automatic, you can manually deploy them if you feel you need to – whistling you back to the last checkpoint.
The controls are nice and simple, arrow keys for speeding, slowing, turning, spacebar for respawning, and shift for boosting in case you want to use that extra speed to either overtake or reach the track quicker whilst midair. Once again, these controls are arcade friendly, and instantly easy to understand. (I know I keep saying arcade, I would love to see this in arcades.) You’ll find yourself jumping the track and heading towards the lower track, but heading upwards, the wrong way, but this is nothing to worry about, the moment you hit the track, you are instantly flipped round to face the right way, this doesn’t mean you become magnetised, it’s not that easy, you’ll still experience a bounce, but you’ll just be facing the right way.
“This game does what RED CARD did for Football games, takes the structure and standard conventions from a genre, and demolishes it with pure insanity.”
Checkpoints are the real big deal in this game – in a game where you’re travelling so fast and trying to take shortcuts all the time it’s easy to fall off and fail. If you do fail, you’re respawned back to that last milestone. As such a key part of the game comes from stopping mercilessly lobbing yourself from platform-to-platform as to ensure you occasionally knock one of these checkpoints should your ballsy shortcut string stop. Not only that, but checkpoints refill your boost bar bit by bit, so it’s worth it for that too.
This is a game that is instantly engaging, it’s got everything you’d want from an adrenaline fueled ball-fest, and it’s pumping techno soundtrack and full surround sound support makes it that ever more engaging. If you want to challenge yourself in the Early Access, you can with the Survival mode – in which you race solo down the tracks trying to get a top ranking. Not only that, but there’s a Time Gate mode which is essentially time attack, get to the checkpoints in the time specified, however, there’s no need to go in chronological order, if you go from gate eight to gate twenty-one. it’ll just flick through the ones you passed and use the latest gate. It’s a really cool mode, and is a personal favourite of mine.
The game already plays incredibly well, smooth and hypnotic.There’s certainly a lot that could be added to it in future – and there’s a massive amount planned: Online Multiplayer, more tracks, customisation, more music, and a single player career mode.I guess what I’m saying is that the game is already worth the price, and the devs have an impressive amount more being worked on.