Milkstone Studios is back with another indie game called Little Racers Street, but is the game worth your time, consideration or money? Simply put, yes on all fronts.
Little Racers Street is the latest Xbox Live Indie game from developer Milkstone Studios. Milkstone has established themselves as a reputable Indie developer on the marketplace and their excellent reputation is only perpetuated by Little Racers Street. LRS is an isometric arcade racer that offers an incredible amount of content in a small indie game package (and price). The racing is fast and intense will have you clamoring for more after each play session.
The gameplay in LRS is by far its most defining feature. Most of us have played some sort of isometric racer before, but I promise you none that perform like this title. The point of racing game is to obviously beat your opponents by crossing the finish line before them, but what sets every racing title apart is how you go about doing that. LRS has very basic, but delicate controls. In order to win races and stay ahead of the competition you need to perfect the handling of each vehicle, because while this game emphasizes speed and acceleration; precision cornering and nitrous management is what wins races in this game. The slightest miscalculation will run you into a wall and could cost you the race, while mismanaging your nitrous will leave you in the rearview of your opponents. This might sound like a disadvantage for LRS, but the addictive nature of this title will bring you back to races to perfect cornering to increase lap times and finding the best spots to deploy nitrous. With nitrous aside, I applaud LRS for putting emphasis on cornering because far too many games allow you to ride the wall and still have the ability to win; that is not the case in LRS. The game also has 5 difficulty setting ranging from easiest to unfair (unfair is the difficulty description for clarification). So depending on how fast you pick up the controls you have a difficulty to match. One last thing to note; like most racing games LRS does factor in damage when credits are dispersed at the end of each race, so less precise or careless driving will net you less money after each race making it another reason to fine tune your skills.
The graphics in LRS are very pretty for an Indie Game. I’d even go as far as to say that it is probably one of the best looking indie games available on XBL. The car models are very simple, but the lighting effects and driving animations are fluid and a sight to behold. Smoke trails are left when drifting and nitrous trails light up the screen when boosting and I must say I was very impressed with these effects in particular. An outline of your car will also illuminate when things hit the fan or when your view is obstructed behind scenery (and both will happen).
The environments are nothing to sneeze at either. The variations in track designs while minor keep things fresh and also the weather effects (rain and snow) add a nice touch. Day, Night and Dusk variants of each track also showcase different details making the same tracks look different which I thought was pretty clever. Overall the game exhibits great design and the frame rate remains stable most of the time. It has dipped on occasion, but nothing that interrupts the flow of a race or makes the experience any less enjoyable.
LRS has a very simple layout and I think it suits the game very well. There is no mystery as to what does what and you can jump into whatever you need to do with great ease. The background at the main menu is dynamic which adds pleasant imagery when you are maneuvering through the menus. The presentation isn’t a huge selling point for this game, but it doesn’t hurt the experience either.
The audio in LRS is superb for an indie game. The sound effects for the cars are really good. Engine noises are mostly uniform amongst the vehicles, but the sound effects are welcomed nonetheless. Tires squeal when drifting, metal scrapes when you rub against walls and other vehicles beep when you hit them or cut them off. The soundtrack steals the show in the audio department. It boasts a well done mix of electronic music that compliments the “street” racing very much so. Racing games usually have an eclectic mix of music that is all over the place, but the choice to go with an entirely electronic mix was an entirely appropriate choice to me.
LRS has a lot of content packed under its mini sized hood. There are several challenges to complete with a ranking system for offline play and online leaderboards for lap times. There is competitive multiplayer over Xbox Live and for system link play. There are lots of cars to purchase (30+) and every car has the ability to be upgraded so that can also consume quite a bit of your time if you so choose. All in all LRS has a ton of content for you to explore and will likely satisfy your need for an arcade racer.
I have spent a good amount of time with LRS and have taken a real liking to it. It offers really fun and addictive gameplay and for only 80 MSP ($1) you can’t go wrong. It is the most fun I have had with an arcade racer since NFS: Hot Pursuit if you needed anymore validation as to how good this game is. It also has a car similar to the AE86 from Initial D (the Relampago 1.6 L) which is killer. Also it will help support Milkstone Studio’s future products and updates (which LRS has gotten a few already). Lastly the game does have a trial so if you are curious about it before making that huge financial commitment, give it a spin and see what you think. As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content. If you try out Little Racers Street and like it sound off in the comments section or shoot Milkstone an email, I’m sure they would love the feedback as well. Until next time be easy everyone.
Little Racers Street was purchased by me for 80 MSP ($1). It is currently available in the XBLIG market on the Xbox 360. I have invested around 4 hours into the game prior to this review and plan to invest many more.