A game about driving down a road that’s not even been built yet? Count me in.
That’s Can’t Drive This in a nutshell; a madcap co-op game where one player builds a road as another player (or players) drive along it. It sounds simple in practice, but it’s fiendishly difficult in execution. That’s part of the fun though; you’ll undoubtedly fail again and again, with cars flying off into oblivion as you turn the wrong way or your co-op partner failed to place a tile in time. And each time you do, you’ll erupt into fits of laughter, because Can’t Drive This somehow manages to be riotous at every turn.
There are single-player and online multiplayer options available, but Can’t Drive This shines when played in split-screen local multiplayer. There are a few different modes available; Game of Drones sees you building and driving around a track in order to reach certain markers, all the while dodging drone attacks. There’s also an online team game, Capture the Egg, which is essentially Capture the Flag (in case the name didn’t give it away). The main mode – Yardage – which simply sees you driving as far as you can go, is the one you’ll go back to time and again, however.
Here, one single game might only last 20 seconds or so before you crash and burn – sometimes literally; if the driver slows down in order to wait for more track to be built, they’ll explode. A hilariously over-the-top tutorial voiceover reminds you it’s a bit like the film Speed. Which is isn’t, at all; at least in Speed they didn’t have to build the roads as they went along. Sandra and Keanu had it easy in comparison. Ahem. So, whoever’s driving needs to ensure they always move at a decent speed, and that means that the road builder needs to move like the clappers in order to keep up.
Perhaps the best thing about building a track in Can’t Drive This is that you never know what piece of road you’re going to get. They drop randomly, with your only control over where they go and their orientation. If there’s a turning, the builder will need to ensure the next piece lines up, otherwise the driver is going to find themselves at a dead end. Other pieces might have boost pads, jumps or fiery rings to pass through; those boost pads are perhaps the most fiendish as they’ll send a car careening several squares ahead. If there’s not enough road placed in advance, it’s game over.
But even if you do wipe out early, you’ll more than likely want to jump straight back in. Can’t Drive This allows instant restarts (along with a quick option to change roles, so the same person doesn’t always have to be building or driving), so one button press and you’re right back into the action. With a simple numerical score system, you always have something to work towards, too; beating your last score.
As you play, you’ll unlock various cosmetic upgrades for your vehicle. They don’t change the gameplay, but who doesn’t want to add a funny little hat to their car? It’s a nice touch that encourages you to play in different modes in order to unlock everything, but ultimately it doesn’t change how the game plays. Whether you’re donning a fancy hat or not, the co-op brilliance of Yardage is the only draw this game needs.
Can’t Drive This is that rare thing: a very simple concept, but one that’s so well-executed that it creates absolute carnage and hilarity. If games nights with friends are a thing you enjoy, make sure to include Can’t Drive This at your next one. You won’t regret it.
Can’t Drive This Review: GameSpew’s Score