It’s a quiet week on Xbox One as far as new games are concerned. Thankfully, however, there’s quite a bit of diversity among the few games that are releasing. Wheelspin Frenzy is one of those titles. The game is a retro racing-inspired experience that attempts to relay that classic old-school energetic vibe. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite achieve what it sets out to accomplish, but in any case, it’s still a very competent yet basic racer. Mercifully, Wheelspin Frenzy is open and accessible, so it does indeed offer some appeal in that regard.
The game plays out from an almost top-down isometric view. There’s a total of twelve different vehicles included and a heavy serving of twenty tracks that are spread across four locations. The aim of the game is as straightforward as needs be. Select your car and dive into the madness against up to seven other racers. It’s important to note that although the game supports eight vehicles on-track, only a total of four human players can take part at any given time. By and large, this should at the very least take you back to Micro Machines.
The kicker here is that much like Micro Machines, each vehicle handles marginally different to the next. Vehicles include the likes of tractors, jeeps and traditional cars, all of which handle and respond to your controls nicely. Location variation is also commendable, ranging from the countryside right up to the mountain-like environments, with each bringing their own unique layouts and risks. I rather enjoyed the challenge that each location offered up, such as steep cliff sides or wintry and slippery terrain. It forces you to bond with each track and ultimately suss out the design of them all.
It’s a shame then, that the game’s core loop lets the overall package down in the long run. The progression structure isn’t very well developed at all, or to be more specific, it’s not been developed enough. It’s largely just a case of casually playing the game, with a few challenges here and there, until everything is unlocked and then you’re done. It makes for a very repetitive and bland racer when you’ve spent even just a couple of hours with it. Don’t get me wrong it’s fun to begin with, but before long, I just couldn’t see any lasting grip.
What I will say is that local co-op maintains the thrills for longer. Much like what you would expect from a title like Wheelspin Frenzy, this isn’t your bog-standard racer. Destruction is every bit a part of each race as the traditional racing is. This much is made apparent by not only the destruction-driven achievements, but by the fact players are rewarded Nitro whenever they trade paint or smash through the objects placed on each track. This will afford you a small yet noticeable boost in speed, which can be the difference between winning and ending in last.
Wheelspin Frenzy encourages you to play as carefully as you can due to some pretty hefty dips in speed if you find yourselves going off-track. Some time and perseverance will alleviate this as you get used to each track layout, but I would lying if I said that I didn’t fall victim to this on several occasions. That’s to no fault of the game, but the camera placement can at times obscure your view of the track line. Still, for its ups and downs, Wheelspin Frenzy performs well, technically and physically. It doesn’t take itself too seriously either.
I cant wholeheartedly say that I enjoyed navigating the menus, because if I’m going to be really blunt, they’re not fluid nor comfortable to maneuver. It can make setting up a tournament feel tedious and drawn out. It’s a small complaint indeed, but something I wanted to make a note of all the same. Moving onto the visuals, Wheelspin Frenzy wont blow your socks off. There’s some good details here and there across each location, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a great looking racer, it’s just a standard looking one.
The audio cues are well done, nicely relaying the heavy roaring and ripping of the vehicles within. This wont sell the game by any means, but it’s great to see some decent effort on this front when many other racers of similar quality tend to settle for a generic output. The bottom line in all of this is that at Wheelspin Frenzy’s core, there’s a solid foundation that rests a competent racing experience. Though with that said, it’s not been built on enough to stand quite as tall as its peers. It’s just too basic for its own good, which is a real shame.
Wheelspin Frenzy offers a passable racer that functions and performs quite well throughout the entirety of play. The biggest drawback here is that the game is just far too basic to stand anywhere near as tall as its peers. The lack of meaningful progression and the bog-standard visuals certainly doesn’t help in this regard. Though with that said, if you’re simply looking for a quick and simplistic arcade racer, Wheelspin Frenzy should do the trick.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.