Do you like to race in spaceships, shoot at the other ones, and improve your skill with every lap that you finish? Well, then Pacer might be the game for you! Originally, R8 Games started a successful Kickstarter campaign to begin developing the game which eventually led to a release of the game all the way back in 2015 (then called Formula Fusion) as an Early Access game on Steam. After more than 5 years in Early Access, the game was finally set to release in September 2020 but eventually got delayed to the 29th of October 2020. After such a long time in EA, we expected a hell of a game. Unfortunately, our dreams were crushed.
We played Pacer for 5 hours on PC.
What we liked!
- Different modes: Pacer offers a lot of different modes to play. Of course, you have the standard races where you simply shoot and drive in order to become first. Then you have Time Trial which doesn’t need much of an explanation. Then there is Speed Lap where, after a set number of laps, the one with the fastest lap wins the race. In Destruction, it is your goal to score enough points by destroying your opponents, and the first one to reach the score limit wins. While playing Elimination, the one that’s last after a set amount of time is taken out of the race until there is only 1 competitor left. When you are doing an Endurance race, all the pilots will start taking damage after the first lap, the one who gets the furthest wins. During Storm, it is your goal to stay in the eye of the storm in order to stay alive, the last one alive wins. And finally, there is Flowmentum, where you need to get as far as you can by going through gates. Each gate you pass, your speed will increase, and it’s over when you have taken too much damage. If all of this isn’t enough, there is also the career mode which you can play!
- Mods: While playing the game, you can completely mod your ride so it fits your race style. First of all, you can change its performance. Want to have a little bit more speeds when you are coming out of turns? Put that on it! Want a higher top speed? Sure there is a part for that. You can buy these different mods with credits that you earn by completing races. But the performance of the vehicle is not the only thing you can change! You can also put different guns on your ride, each with its own unique perks. So it’s definitely worth checking out all the different options here!
- Tracks: So we already established that there are a lot of different game modes and mods for your rides. Well, it doesn’t stop there! Pacer offers a wide variety of different tracks each set in their own unique environment so every race feels completely different. Currently, there are 14 different tracks but most of them you will need to unlock with credits. And as you probably already expected, they are a lot more expensive than mods for your vehicle. But it still is a nice goal to unlock them all.
- Online: Pacer offers an online mode which is probably really nice since you can compete with people all over the world. So it’s good that they implemented one. However, for a game that has been around for about 15 days now, it isn’t good that no one is playing and you can’t find any matches. I waited around for 10minutes and nothing. Normally, with games like this, it should be really easy to find an online match but for Pacer, the online community is already dead, which is a shame.
- Guns: So it is really nice that you can modify the guns, change them, and give them some perks, but it sucks that you can only carry 1 piece of ammo at a time. Yes, you are able to buy perks that you can unlock more and I can clearly see why you can’t collect more during the race. But some guns are so weak that they are completely useless with only one piece of ammo at a time.
- Minimap: A thing that I really wanted and hoped to see was a minimap where you can easily spot what turns are coming up so you can get the perfect race-line and that you actually know where all the other drivers are. Sometimes I’m so far ahead or behind that, I have no idea if they are still driving around or if it’s just me. I hope that in further patches (if they come), they will implement something like this because I’m sure it will do the game some good.
What we disliked
- Bugs: After 5 years of being in Early Access, you would expect a game that is in (almost) perfect shape without any bugs. But no, Pacer still has a lot of annoying bugs which are sometimes breaking the game. For example, when you want to create a new loadout and you are playing with a controller, once you try to enter a name with your keyboard, the game completely freezes and I had to force close my game in order to get it running again. Or another bug that I encountered in the Career mode, where after 1 race you will get kicked out and have to do the whole thing over again, not that bad if it happens once but 5 times is just too much!