The Fast & Furious series doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to videogames. And it’s a shame, given the high-octane antics that it’s known for.
Last year’s Fast & Furious Crossroads was terrible; a game full of wasted potential from a developer that should have been able to deliver the goods. But before this year is out, there’s another Fast & Furious game on the way that might prove to be a damn sight better: Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Rise of SH1FT3R.
For those not in the know, Fast & Furious: Spy Racers is a Netflix Original animated series. Aimed at kids, it centres around Tony Toretto, cousin of Dom Toretto, who along with his friends works with a government organisation to thwart the plans of a crime organisation called SHiFT3R. All in all, it’s a setup not too dissimilar from modern Fast & Furious films.
Developed by 3D Clouds, Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Rise of SHiFT3R finds Tony and pals going undercover as street racers to stop SH1FT3ER’s plans yet again. Taking control of Tony or one of this friends – Echo, Cisco, or Layla Gray – Spy Tournament mode will allow players to make their way through five missions, each consisting of numerous events. Each mission takes place in its very own location, too, including Los Angeles, Rio De Janeiro, and the Sahara Desert.
As you can imagine, the action is over-the-top; this is not a serious racing game with realistic physics. Instead, it’s more like a kart racing game with beefier vehicles. You’ll race around tracks full of shortcuts, jumps, and other hazards to watch out for, drifting around corners like your life depends on it. Each racer, complete with their own vehicle, has a few tricks up their sleeves, too. Three skills are common to all characters, such as boost and the ability to shoot paintballs, but each character also has a unique skill that may help them gain the edge during a race.
To win, then, players need to master control of their vehicle, keep an eye out for shortcuts, and collect energy as they drive to power their special skills and make effective use of them. Choosing the right character and vehicle for the current mission is also important. Normal cars don’t cope well with the sandy dunes of the Sahara Desert, for example, but a 4×4 has no troubles.
Outside of Spy Tournament mode, Quick Race will allow players to create their own events, using any of the game’s 17 tracks. You can also play as various members of the SHiFT3R gang once you’ve unlocked them, opening up yet more thrilling gameplay opportunities. Throw in online multiplayer for up to six players (only four players on Switch, unfortunately), and local split-screen multiplayer, and you have a game that has all the bases covered. A shop back at HQ will even let you unlock a range of goodies, including new skins for your vehicles.
Everything we’ve seen of Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Rise of SH1FT3R points to a game that should be highly entertaining. The gameplay certainly looks better than that of previous Fast & Furious games, and it should have the visual edge, too, being the first to be made available on next-gen consoles. Needless to say, we’re excited to go hands-on with the title later this year.
Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Rise of SH1FT3R launches this November on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.