|Wheels of Destruction|
|Developer: Gelid Games
Publisher: Gelid Games
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: 1 player offline, 2-12 player online
Wheels of Destruction is a post-apocalyptic third-person arcade style vehicle combat shooter. Players are pitted against each other in one of five arenas in a variety of game modes. The game itself is built with the Unreal Engine and so feels very similar to Unreal Tournament in some aspects, with some of the killstreak announcements being most familiar.
The game features both an online and offline mode with up to 12 players, either bots or actual people, battling it out in one of five arenas based on cities around the world, but with a post-apocalyptic twist, with some being nearly unrecognisable. These cities are Paris (now overgrown with all kinds of vegetation), Seattle (now a wasteland of permafrost and ice), London (a sagging husk surrounded by acid swamps), Tokyo (now completely flooded with only the tips of skyscrapers rising above the water), and Rome (covered by thick clouds and volcanic ash). Each of the maps and feels well-suited to a post-apocalyptic world, and are detailed with plenty of scenery for you to admire if you can find the time between annihilating other opponents.
The online mode is split into two sections; ‘Ranked’ and ‘Unranked’ matches. The Ranked matches use set rules and no bots in-game and your score will affect your global ranking, doing badly reduces it while doing well will increase it. Your position can be viewed in the game’s leaderboards, and can be compared to your friends’ scores, allowing you to compete to be the best. The Unranked matches are very similar to the Ranked matches but bots are allowed and your score won’t affect anything, making this the perfect mode to practice in with some friends. The settings can also be configured, such as starting in a random car each time, allowing you to set the match up exactly to your liking.
The offline mode is exactly the same as the unranked online mode but just with AI bots instead of any real opponents. This allows you to practice and get used to each of the maps but eventually you’ll learn how to really play each mode and bots just don’t give you the sort of competition playing against other sneaky human competitors does. This feels like the kind of mode which could be helped by split-screen, where you and a friend, or 3, could take on a team of bots, or compete against each other, as the number of bots can be configured.
The game has three game modes to choose from, although none of them are really anything new. Deathmatch has you fight against up to 11 other opponents, earning points for each kill, and the player with the most points at the end of the time limit, generally 10 minutes, or who reaches the score limit first crowded the winner of the round. Team Deathmatch exactly what you expect it to be, the same as Deathmatch but instead of being on your own you’re now part of a team. Capture the Flag has a flag for each team placed at the spawn points and the goal is to drive the other team’s flag, taking it, and drive it back to your flag to capture it. This mode is where the most fun is to be had, with most games never reaching the score limit before the end. You’ll spend ages finding the best way to sneak round the waiting enemies, take the flag and nearly get back to yours only to find it’s now been taken, then the race is on for the rest of each team to destroy and reset their own flag, done by driving through it, before the other team do the same.
On entering a game you’ll be given a choice of five cars to spawn as, ranging from the slow and very heavily armoured, to the super quick but more vulnerable type. These classes each have names relevant to their stats, with the ‘heavy’ being heavily armoured, the ‘scout’ being the fast nimble car, and the ‘soldier’ being the basic average car. The other two are ‘assassin’, who’s the second fastest car but is more heavily armoured than a ‘scout’, and the ‘engineer’, who has better firepower than a ‘soldier’ but not as good as the ‘heavy’. Each car also has boost allowing you to perform tricks in mid-air, with a somersault giving you a boost in shields.
Each car starts with the same basic weapons, a Gatling gun with a shotgun secondary fire, but other weapons can be found around the map as pickups. The Gatling gun will never run out of ammo but is very weak, but the shotgun on the other hand can easily get you a quick insta-kill if you hit the opponent at a close range. Other weapons include a basic rocket, secondary fire a mortar, a flamethrower, and a rail gun, which can take out opponents in one shot with practice. Other pickups are also scattered around the map, helping you to stay alive with health and armour, or giving you more ammo with fill ups, or doubling it completely.
There are also extras, such as in-game achievements, which will unlock bonus concept art if you wish to view it. This is all contained in a garage section which also features information on all the cars, maps, and pickups available, allowing you to read up before entering a match.
Overall Wheels of Destruction is a fun action game, although it can get repetitive if playing for long periods of time. It’s perfect for short bursts, but as long as you don’t end up playing the same map and mode consecutively, is fun for longer periods. The number of modes does seem very limited compared with other games, but I suppose more could be added later as DLC. It’s simple to pick up and play, with the controls feeling instantly intuitive, but getting to know when and where to use certain weapons and car classes takes time, adding plenty of depth to the gameplay. At a price of £7.99 GBP/9.99 Euros/$9.99 USD and a PSN exclusive you can’t go far wrong, and it’s an excellent alternative to Twisted Metal.
- Easy to get in and play.
- Online games can be very competitive.
- Cars are well suited to different play styles.
- Only three game modes.
- No offline split-screen.
- Can get repetitive after a while.