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Pixel Driver – Review

As a child of the 80s and 90s, I used to play games which I affectionately call my “drive down the endless motorway” racers. Enduro on the ZX Spectrum was a prime example. One road, 500 cars to overtake; don’t crash. Pixel Driver takes the approach and drops it onto modern consoles without changing a whole lot. It is basic and barebones in its delivery but offers a solid retro arcade experience for those that enjoy simplicity.

There are four locations and ten cars to buy through procedurally generated levels. Each car has stats that can be upgraded too and you do this by collecting coins on each run and avoiding traffic. Hit a car and a funny explosion of everything on the road takes place. You can also run out of fuel and fuel cans are randomly placed on the road or grass verges to collect. I initially thought I’d be clever and lift and coast to save fuel and get further but fuel is timed instead of tied to the throttle so you might as well floor it regardless.

Each of the four areas has a different layout with the tighter roads always asking you to dive between traffic with precision.

Pixel Driver is extremely simple but cars switch lanes, traffic jams occur that force you off the road, city roads fork into multiple lanes and traffic cones shut down lanes too. Its is a do or die approach that the player must take which keeps you playing and the online leaderboard has is the biggest carrot. I love Pixel Driver’s implementation of high scores too. Each player on the leaderboard is measured purely on distance and their rank and PSN name (I was playing on PS4) is dropped into the game. As you climb up the leaderboard, you drive by each persons name and rank. Pass your own high score, and the game cheers! It is a fabulous way to keep players invested and for such a simple game, it was this feature that kept me playing longer than I expected to grind for coins and unlock better cars.

Fans of retro early racers like Enduro, Outrun and Chase HQ will enjoy this type of game most. Others may feel its too basic to offer much but a low price point and a lack of bugs or issues will let you get the most out of its high speed action.

PS4 version reviewed and supplied by the developer. Available on PS4 and Switch.

Pixel Driver
Final Thoughts
Simple arcade traffic dodger with a nifty online leaderboard implementation.
Driving passed your rivals on the online leaderboard is a great feeling.
Lo-poly graphics feel retro, chunky and speedy when you upgrade a car enough to enjoy it.
When you crash, the wave of carnage is satisfying.
Sometimes fuel cans are a bit shy in coming forward, feeling a bit unfair at times.
Repetitive by design and with little variation after the first 20 minutes.

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