To place the word “Ultimate” in your title means you must be very sure you are going to be good at what you do, otherwise you are a meme in waiting. “Ultimate Racing 2D” is the latest in a very long line of top-down racers – a genre of gaming I love to bits – but also one that is very, very saturated. Does this one stand out as a top tier racer? It’s close…
The game itself goes with over 30 vehicle types, 45 tracks split into 4 track types and 20 cars on track per race. There are recreations of many well-known circuits and I appreciate the level of detail to make something cartoon-like but instantly recognisable. The game may look like it’s an arcade racer but the whole physics model is based on increased tyre wear leaving your car in an understeer skid. The longer you stay out, the slower the turn-in and the more you’ll skid on corner turn-in and exit. It doesn’t always feel like you are going slower but then as soon as you pit for fresh rubber, you’ll be turning around hairpins without much thought. As such, it’s not in any way a sim, but there’s much more to the driving than just accelerating away. If you’ve played GeneRally, New Star GP or MiniRacersOnline, you’ll be at home here.
There is no damage model in Ultimate Racing 2D, which initially made me quite disappointed. However, having played this game alongside the damage heavy New Star GP, this game is by far more enjoyable because there is no damage model. The AI, whilst competent, will happily barge you out the way, and contact will slow you down to a crawl. Quite frankly, that is penalty enough as it can hurt your progress. Races can be as long or as short as you like but tyre wear and fuel are huge factors. My biggest complaints initially with the game was that the tyres would wear out far too quickly but this has been patched out over time. Now tyre wear can be scaled to suit or turned off.
Ultimate Racing 2D will let you take up to 20 players online for a race. My limited experience of this is that it’s lag-free and works quite nicely and you could use an out of programme tool to run championships with fellow players easily. Qualifying is included as a one-lap shootout and you can choose to overlap everyone to you can learn from other peoples lines. All the team names, driver names and colours of the teams are customisable too which fantastic, although strangely in career mode you aren’t playing as yourself – you play as whoever you’ve just bought for that season. Career mode itself is interesting as it will let you drive dirt bikes, stock cars, limos and so on right up to the formula cars. Terrain and cars do handle slightly differently throughout and there’s a lovely nod to some historic cars and the Nordschleife – in 2D glory. The cars and bikes aren’t too dramatically different though and that’s a good and a bad thing. Bad, for it lacks variety, but good because it means you can blast the go-karts, trucks or ice cream vans around any circuit you like!
A copy of the game was provided by the developer for review.
Ultimate 2D Racing
I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with Ultimate Racing 2D and I think fans of the genre will absolutely lap this one up. The developer has constantly added and tweaked features since this review too (8 player local multiplayer being the latest fantastic addition). See you on the race track!
Plenty of cars and tracks.
Lots of customisation to make your own league and championship.
Not just a point and squirt - you really do have to drive properly!
Online multiplayer works like a sim racing game which will hopefully lead to online league racing.
Career mode feels oddly structured.
No track editor stops this from overtaking GeneRally as the ultimate racer in this genre.
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