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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jenks

Review #048: GRIP: Combat Racing (Nintendo Switch)

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Reviewed By: Allan J.

Developed By: Caged Element

Published By: Wired Productions

Category: Racing, Action

Release Date: 11.6.2018

Download GRIP: Combat Racing from the Nintendo eShop here.

Purchase GRIP: Combat Racing from Amazon here.

Grip Is Dominating the Race!

As a kid, some of my favorite games were F-Zero X, Super Mario Kart, R.C. Pro-Am, and Rock N’ Roll Racing; because who doesn’t like a good combat-laden racing game? Had I been shown GRIP: Combat Racing as that same child, I am certain my young mind would have been blown. GRIP is a high-speed, high-intensity, gravity-defying action racer with awesome power-ups and weapons, along with a unique wall/ceiling-crawling mechanic that sets it apart from its combat racing brethren.

GRIP has several different modes to try out, and is great as a single-player in campaign mode or online, but also offers a vertical split-screen mode for you and a friend in local multiplayer mode. As you progress through the different stages, you earn experience points, which allows you to level up and unlock different options in the garage, ranging from upgraded tires and paint jobs, to some awesome new vehicles. Even right from the start though, your vehicle is pretty sweet.

This game is all about speed. It takes your basic racing game and kicks it up a notch by incorporating some pretty wild physics. You are going so fast throughout the races that you can drive up walls and along ceilings, allowing the down force to take over and glue you to the road/ceiling. This can also allow for some amazing aerial jumps and maneuvering, including the ability to steer and accelerate while airborne using jet power.

Experience the Tournament

The single-player campaign mode incorporates all of the multiple different types of gameplay available, like racing, duels and arena battles, all as part of different tournaments that you enter. As mentioned already, you gain more XP the further you get in your career, and you can unlock more and more features as you level up. The vehicles are customizable with decals and different paint jobs, and there are some very badass unlockables!

In multiplayer online mode, it’s more of the same that you get in campaign, but with other players online, which always adds a different element to your game. The CPU opponents tend to go a lot easier on me than my fellow online gamers have been though! GRIP definitely brings out the competitive spirit in me when playing the online mode.

This One Is For The Pros

Another available mode—one that I have noticed to be lacking in more and more modern games in recent years—is local split-screen multiplayer mode. GRIP does allow you to play in two-player vertical split-screen with a single Joy-Con each, but I would really recommend playing this mode with either two Pro Controllers or two sets of paired Joy-Cons with a grip, because the single Joy-Cons do not have enough buttons to give you all of the commands that are available otherwise.

With the Pro Controller or the dual Joy-Cons, you have the ability to switch the enemy you are targeting with a single button press, as well as the ability to change the camera orientation, which are fairly useful features to have while simultaneously racing at 700 km/h and firing a machine gun or missile at your opponent. That being said, while not optimal, the single Joy-Con still allows for a fun time to be had, especially since your friend is likely experiencing the same control limitations.

Gameplay & Fun Factor

While the game itself is not impossibly difficult, it does still offer a decent challenge. The graphics are stunning and beautiful, and the music is appropriately heavy and upbeat. The steering is responsive—more so at higher speeds—and relatively easy to get comfortable with, but you go so fast at times that it is easy to end up launching yourself halfway across the screen and into the side of a cliff or a ravine. Sometimes, like in Mario Kart or Rock N’ Roll Racing, the game will transport you back to the track where you flew off, but other times you can end up stuck on a rock face with no way to move at all. You have to then pull the old Austin Powers maneuver to go reverse and forward a few times and dislodge enough to either get back on the track, or at least finally fall completely off course and be transported back into the race.

A big part of the race is the power-ups, ranging from a speed boost, to a rear missile shield, to that missile you just tried to shield yourself from. While the combat in-race is fun, where it truly shines is in the arena battles. This mode takes me right back to my favorite installment in the Mario Kart franchise, Mario Kart 64. While the graphics and speed in GRIP are obviously far more advanced than the Nintendo 64 days—and there are no balloons to pop—the spirit of the battle mode of old is alive and well here. You speed around the arena gathering power-ups, mostly weapons and shields rather than speed boosts—and hunt down your opponents to see who can get the most kills before the buzzer. This mode is available in single-player, but is much more fun with a friend in split-screen, battling each other along with a couple of CPU players.

Wrapping Up

Overall, I came into this game expecting it to be an awesome combat racing game—as suggested in the appropriately dubbed title—and I was not disappointed in the least. GRIP: Combat Racing is an amazing game, and I had fun in every mode. It is great if you want to play alone, online, or with a friend. The only drawback I can find with the game really comes back to the missing control actions with the single Joy-Cons in multiplayer. Again though, this affects the overall gameplay relatively little in the grand scheme of things, especially considering that the only time you will encounter the lack of controls is when you are playing with a friend who will also be experiencing the same handicap. If you are a racing fan, an arena battle fan, or both, then I would absolutely recommend picking up this game for your Switch library.

Final Score: 8.5/10

Download GRIP: Combat Racing from the Nintendo eShop here.

Purchase GRIP: Combat Racing from Amazon here.

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*Review Code Provided By Wired Productions

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