Quality isometric racing games are few and far between. Scrap Metal yearns for the days of the retro racer, while throwing in a load of weapons aimed to fulfill your destructive tendencies. Developed by the two man team Slick Entertainment out of Vancouver B.C., the game looks to put another high point on the duo’s track record, following their co-development with Metanet of the critically acclaimed 2008 release N+.
Racing, demolition derby, and boss fighting gameplay modes were featured in the demo. In Scrap Metal you’re rewarded for destroying opponents cars with the ability to bring the scraps of one of the destroyed cars back to your garage, so long as you place within the top three. Additionally, you’ll earn upgrade points which can be spent repairing your cars, or customizing attributes such as acceleration, handling, firepower, strength, and nitro capacity. There will also be Xbox Live multiplayer, when the game’s released, although it wasn’t shown in the demonstration.
The racing game actually plays well. With the racing mode, players practically have to drive over the checkpoint arrows in order for them to register, or within close proximity to them. Controlling the vehicles wasn’t difficult, they behave properly, with their own strengths and weaknesses and turn on a dime. Track layouts are cleverly devised to make them optimal for both destruction and racing. There were nitro and weapon pick-ups scattered about the track, over-lapping segments featuring neat jumps over previous areas, and flames shooting out from the walls to enhance the carnage.
Provided with the demo were several 3D glasses (specifically, ones from the film Coraline), which could be used in a separate visual mode for the game. This 3D theme is becoming increasingly popular, as of late. For Scrap Metal, some of your surroundings seem to be lifted right off the screen with the 3D glasses, but the change isn’t drastic. Nothing to write home about, although there’s nothing wrong with trying new things on Xbox Live Arcade. It’s the perfect platform for developers to experiment on.
After my time with the game, I’m definitely looking forward to its 2010 release, and am anticipating even bigger, better things from the independent developers in the near future.