Do we really need another top down racer? With recent releases such as Reckless Racing on Windows 8 and a slew of them on all the mobile devices, is this really what I want to play on my console? Well, developer i-Friqiya is betting on it. Fuel Overdose is a tactical top down racer much in the vein of Off Road. In this game there are a ton of modes to choose from, which in theory should keep you going for a long time. There is your standard Story mode with numerous characters, giving you a chance to run through each of their stories to see where that leads. You also have single player challenges which are there to keep you racing for better times and goals. There are several championships for you to run through and even seven-player online multiplayer. This should be enough to keep you coming back right? Well, sadly, in my case, no.
The story itself was pretty hokey. Global warming leads to a new pandemic called the Lith. Hundreds of millions die until finally a cure is found. The only problem is that humanity is in shambles and a corporation has control of the vaccine stock. So what do we do? We have car races. Makes sense, right? I think the worst offender here though is how the story is conveyed. Any time story progression needed to happen, it happened through static anime drawings on screen. Absolutely zero animation. It just doesn’t work. The kicker here was the fact that I was not prepared for anime, and my eight-year-old son was walking by, when a lovely three-quarters naked lady pops up on screen (insert childish snicker). OK, so the story is a wreck. It looks good in game though.
Wow, this is a good-looking game. If asked to describe it, I'd say it’s top down Borderlands. It has that cell shaded look; dark and dirty apocalyptic environments with huge splashes of bright colors in the cars. It fits the story and I never saw any frame rate hiccups the entire time. At first, I thought the car color contrasts would end up hurting my eyes, but I soon came to appreciate it as it helped me keep track of my car when in the madness of a close race.
You start each race by purchasing your weapons and upgrades. There is a lot to choose from. You have machine guns, missiles, and mines. The best, however, is that every car is equipped with a grappling hook. You use this to take corners faster or slingshot off opponents. If, however, you feel like it, you can send an electric shock through a grappling hook to do some damage, too. I must admit that at times I did find myself laughing as I took out an enemy. The selection of characters you have to choose from is good, too. It is, however, pretty much your standard fare. You have everything from the sexy bombshell to the tankish meat head, and everything in between. Each character also has an array of car colors to choose from, giving you the illusion of customization when in fact you really don’t have many choices beyond the initial color. Even so, I appreciated it.
What about the meat and potatoes? How does it actually play? It’s hard; harder than I would have liked. I would say that any casual gamer looking to just pick up and play this game will get turned away by the difficulty alone. The controls are solid though. Where I had the most fun was in the battles. Many times I wasn’t trying to come in first, but to see how many people I could take out. While the single player modes were interesting for about 10 minutes, what I was really looking forward to was the multiplayer. I am a man who loves to play with others. I don’t care if it's Halo, or Madden, if I have someone real to play against, I’m game. The problem here, though, is there just aren't a lot of people online waiting to play. I could barley get enough online playtime in with live people to give it its fair shake. In fact, while writing this, I tried to find one more game to play but I could not find a single game. With what little I could play of the online (due to no fault to the developers) I found it to be stable, with a solid frame rate and rather fun. You can tell when you are playing against a real person. There is just something extra there.
While it did have sporadic bursts of fun, Fuel Overdose sadly falls flat. I see the fun, and I see the potential, but it feels like they stretched too far. I would have liked to see them pull back on all the different race types and added in real animations for the story sections. Would this have made the ultimate difference? Who knows? In the end though, the real nail in the coffin is the lack of players online. If I could find people online, I know I would go back since the combat was probably the best part. I wanted this to succeed. It was a fun throwback feeling game with an aesthetic that really spoke to me. Sadly, it just didn’t race to the finish.
Rating: 6.5 Mediocre