At PAX Rising, I got a chance to check out Space Dust Racers, from local indie developers Space Dust Studios. Inspired by racing games like Micro Machines, Mashed and Mario Kart, the studio wanted to create a couch multiplayer game that could be played with family and friends, and include more than just four players on one screen. It has been a while since we have seen a top down racing game, and Space Dust Racers looks to bring that back, with simple controls, explosive power-ups and a wide range of ‘brutal cute’ characters and vehicles.
I got a chance to play a survival mode where the aim of the game was to defeat other opponents with the weapons on the race track, earning a point for every kill. Machine guns, homing missiles, and deployable mines are some weapons to look out for, also keeping in mind to watch out for tricky turns and jumps on the track. I would say this game plays a lot more like Mashed, letting dead players launch missiles on racers, which do crazy amounts of damage. The weapons were much stronger in this mode, but there is also the classic ‘elimination’ mode where it focuses on both the racing and battling, giving points to players who are the last one standing. The game also lets players customise their experience, adding gameplay modifiers and changing the powerups.
Most multiplayer racing games support up to four players, but Space Dust Racers allows up 16 local players, using game pads, and even your smartphone, tablet or PC as extra controllers. The recommended amount is 8 – 12 players, but you can also play the game locally or online with friends. I’m really glad to see this type of integration with smartphones, giving players more accessibility, even allowing drop-in drop-out gameplay.
I’m excited to see a return to this racing genre, definitely going to check it out when it releases in early 2016, available on PC, Xbox One and PS4.