The Switch has been out for over four years now, and there still aren’t many good racing games available on it. Even fewer that also involve a bit of combat. Gas Guzzlers Extreme is here to remedy that.
Like most games released on Switch, Gas Guzzlers Extreme isn’t new. It’s been available on PC longer than GameSpew has existed, and has made its way to Xbox One and PS4 since. Thanks to a great port job, however, it really impresses on Switch. It looks and plays surprisingly well.
Career mode is the main draw of Gas Guzzlers Extreme, challenging you to start at the bottom in a vehicle that you probably wouldn’t want to be seen dead in in real life, and making your way up from there. Each time you’re ready to take on an event, you’re basically offered up multiple, allowing you to chart your own path to success. You can take part in straight-up races, for example, dubbed Power Races, while Battle Races also add weapons into the mix. And then there are Knockout events, where being at the back of the pack any any given lap will cut your time short. Further into your career, truly combat-focused Last Man Standing and Deathmatch events will begin to be offered, too.
Perform well in any of these events, and not only will you move up the ranks, edging ever closer to being the best, you’ll also earn rewards. New tracks, cars and upgrades will be unlocked, and you’ll earn cash which can be used to buy new vehicles and upgrade those in your garage. Every once in a while a sponsor might come sniffing around if they smell there’s some profit to be made, putting forward special events for you to take part in that offer substantial cash rewards or requesting that you don their livery for a bonus after each event.
Adding a bit of spice to the proceedings are sneaky shortcuts, as well as pick-ups littering each track and arena. There’s everything from boost canisters to deployable oil slicks, adding an additional layer of chaos and strategy. It’s all pretty standard stuff in the grand scheme of things, but you won’t really care because it’s just so much fun to play. The handling is pretty solid for an arcade racer, and the weapons you have access to feel chunky. Whether you choose to focus on racing or blowing up your competition, you’re in for a good time.
More fun awaits outside of the career, too, though you could easily miss it. Delve into Quick Race mode, and aside from being able to create your own events much like those found in the career mode, you’ll also find Defend the Base and Survivor. These both drop you onto a map infested by the undead, and challenge you to survive waves of increasingly troublesome attacks. And there’s not just your normal zombies to contend with either; eventually you’ll be faced with giant undead bulls and even ogres.
There’s just one thing that lets Gas Guzzlers Extreme down, really, and that’s the fact that it doesn’t have any multiplayer features. It would be great to take on other players, either locally or online, in races or deathmatches. In fact, the Defend the Base and Survivor events found in Quick Race almost feel designed to be played in co-op. It’s not entirely surprising, given that multiplayer didn’t make it into the Xbox One or PS4 versions either, but this Switch port costs twice as much. It might be a hard pill to swallow for some.
As long as you’re aware that Gas Guzzlers Extreme is a single-player only experience, chances are you’ll get a hell of a lot of enjoyment out of it. It’s nice that you can chart your own course through the game’s career, focusing on racing or combat as you see fit. And there are plenty of vehicles to unlock, purchase and upgrade to your heart’s content. The zombie horde modes are just the icing on the cake, offering something a little bit different when trading paint has lost its appeal. Though it’ll be a while before that happens.
Gas Guzzlers Extreme Review – GameSpew’s Score