LifeisXbox’s PalmRide Review | PalmRide looks to be a racing-style game from my neck of the woods. The good old 80’s. Where you and your friends would go to the arcades, throw in 10p and ride along dodging all of the oncoming traffic. At first glance, I thought the game was going to mimic certain aspects of Outrun, the 1987 classic. But PalmRide is quite a bit different here. Created and published by Pizza Fest, PalmRide looks at taking you back to the ’80s on a nostalgia-driven acid trip that I think people will appreciate.
ℹ️ | PalmRide was played on PC and was completed in full before providing this review. PalmRide is only available on PC at this time.
What we liked!
- Retro Style | The instant attraction of PalmRide for me as I am sure it will be for many others, is the striking graphical style that has managed to emulate. The game features a 2D pixelated neon art style that mimics a lot of the graphics from the sega genesis era. I mentioned above that Outrun is its closest match, and that would be correct if we are talking graphics. What I also really liked was the false sense of depth that the game created as you drove closer to certain objects. Buildings, roads, cars, and motorcycles will pop into view as you progress through each level. It is a throwback to old driving games and the striking colour palette serves the game well since it’s looking at creating a world set in a different time.
- The Powerups | As you drive around there will be various powerups to collect. There are bullets so that you can shoot obstacles and other cars off the road if they get in your way, Nitro, so you can give your speed an extra boost and rack up the miles quicker, flight, which gives your car around 10 seconds of air time before coming down to the road again allowing you to avoid other obstacles and cars on the road. Finally, we have lives. The life system is a way in which you can continue driving if you bump into an obstacle, the walls, or other vehicles on the road. You can have a maximum of three lives and if you lose one, the game keeps going and you can collect more lives. Once you have run out of lives, the run ends and you can start over again.
- The Music | The music is probably the best part of the game for me. It’s a combination of 80’s synthwave crossed with some modern pop fusion. It goes well and serves the settings well. The added extra kick here is that the whole background of the levels is a music visualizer so as you drive you can see the beat of the music playing out in the sunset ahead. It’s a very stunning visual aid that I think many will appreciate whilst playing. There are 6 tracks in total and you can even support the developers by buying the soundtrack separately.
- The Controls | The controls are simple, arrow keys to move left or right and down to slow your car down, with ctrl being used to initiate nos when you have collected it. Nice and simple and nothing else or complicated about it.
- Too Short | The game is very short. The whole game can be completed within an hour. The main reason is that each level you unlock is determined by driving 30km on the previous level. It’s not hard by any means, and some might not find it easy at all, but the underlying difficulty will see you approaching the end of this game quite quickly. What would have been good here is if it were more challenging and that your drive distance was reset when you died completely. Instead, if you drive 10km and die, then respawn and do another 10km it will stack those for you meaning the average person will most likely unlock the next level by their 3rd attempt. The tracks repeat themselves pretty quickly also so you get to see everything a level offers you pretty quickly.
- Online Leaderboards only |Having leaderboards is better than nothing, but it would have been good to see at the end of each race where you stack up compared to others. Instead, you have to go to the main menu and select leaderboards, then go through each line to see if you are there. There was no button to see where I was compared to everyone else, something I see a lot in other games so it was disappointing to see this not present here. After all, my valiant efforts of dodging and weaving must be worth something, right?
- Can get hectic quick | After a while on the road, the obstacles can get a little bit much with all the cars as well being added to it. Couple this with the speed and the way the graphics move, it can make you feel a little disoriented. I came away after an hour with a bit of a headache since I was concentrating way too much on all the fast-moving scenery. It’s like sitting in the back seat of a car watching the trees go by right next to you.
What we disliked
- No online functionality| I would have loved to have seen a multiplayer function in PalmRide. Having both of you race either side of the road, choosing oncoming traffic or correct facing traffic. It would have added more to the dynamic of the game, giving you more chance to listen to the awesome soundtrack and even use those power-ups against each other. This kind of game is begging for a multiplayer mode and I hope something like this makes its way into the game at some point.
- Distance vs Time | Opting for distance over time seems like a bad move in my opinion. I’ve already discussed how it makes the game super short by doing this and opting for a timer with a specific race theme would have been better. I also mentioned how hectic and difficult the game can be so I feel like having a race where you have to beat the timer would make more sense in unlocking the next levels. Once I knew my distance was met, I could just quit and start the next level. I just feel overall there should have been some end game where it is all tied together nicely using the leaderboards that I mentioned above.
How long to beat the story | 1 hour
How long to achieve 1000G | 2 hours
Similar with | Outrun, Super Hang on and Virtua racing. All of these games share similar art styles and 80’s esque music within the racing genre.
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.