Uniracers—sorry, I mean Old Spice Racers—is an Xbox Live Indie Game based on the Old Spice brand. I don’t remember Old Spice being one of the Spice Girls.
Old Spice is a brand of male grooming products—shower gel, aftershave, deodorant and the like—so what does it have to do with videogames, enough to warrant a game loosely themed upon it? Seems kind of pointless to me.
But then again, I’m not the company holding a competition where a developer must produce an XBLI game based on my product—and until I’m in that position, I cannot judge. If you see a competition where a developer must produce an XBLI game based on a brand of styrofoam containers, then you know what has happened to me after my unexplained disappearance.
If you’re given the task to make a game about deodorant, make it a game where you wear deodorant and get chicks. That’ll sell the product far better than this does.
The goal of Old Spice Racers is to complete ‘wacky’ courses whilst riding on a unicycle. Sounds a bit like that game Uniracers on the Super Nintendo. Must be my imagination.
Old Spice Racers contains many courses of separate levels (45 levels overall), which must be completed in the fastest time you can muster, or with the highest score. This is made all the more difficult by irritating controls and an awful soundtrack of tunes that loop every five or so seconds.
You can pick any one of about ten characters, all of whom are exactly the same control-wise, so it is purely an aesthetic choice. They have only a few frames of animation, which is probably why there are so many characters. The artwork, however simple, is of a high quality, looking smooth on my 1600×900 display. A few of them resemble rejected Kellogg’s cereal mascots—you know the type, those who only have a face for cereal.
My favourite character is G13, a robot humanoid. Really, it isn’t a hard decision when the rest of the characters are anthropomorphs (definition: animal people). There’s something funny about her animation frames too: the Evil Monkey sure likes his robot slaves equipped with ballistics.
The main gameplay consists of riding a unicycle through courses somehow magically suspended in mid-air in one of many looping locales, fitted with hazards and gimmicks designed to make your ride a very unpleasant one (almost as if it wishes to upset you).
So if you’re after a game that’s going to annoy you greatly, it’s this.
The engine itself is robust (enough) to be far better than anything I have made. However, I could probably yodel a better soundtrack whilst riding bareback on a Super Sheep. The controls range from complicated to complicated, with control scheme Advanced requiring some mean direction changes whilst riding through loops.
There is some bizarre imagery going on in the form of the backgrounds, such as a beheaded unicorn. I dread to imagine just what must have been running through the head of the art director at the time, but whatever it was can stay there.
This game stinks, but it is only a light stink. Like, Rie Fu’s “Life is Like a Boat”-style stink. It doesn’t mean it’s a terrible game—no, far from it. It is just that it could have done better being a bit more “New Spice” than “Old Spice.” You know, had a bit more pizazz. You know what I’m saying – a game like this is perhaps less suited to idiotic looking mascots and more simple graphics—like cubes, spheres and the like. Basic building blocks and silhouettes without character, like the training stages from Bionic Commando Rearmed.
Also, I’d have never considered Uniracers as a source for inspiration. I can think of much better things to do with Uniracers than actually play it. But if sticking with the unicycles was absolutely necessary, then the futuristic vibe could make it go a lot further than it does, with arguably less work.
Old Spice is a deodorant, but it probably isn’t strong enough to conquer the smell of a dying wolf caught in barbed wire. A very well-drawn and highly detailed wolf, yes… A lot of, perhaps, unnecessary detail there.
Old Spice Racers is not as bad as Space Math (which from me is a compliment). But I feel it is too complicated for a multiplayer game (remember, simple games for morons = sales). It has potential, but I feel that said potential is weighed down by the art style and the game it so obviously steals its gameplay from. In no way a bad game, especially where the XBLI is concerned.