Game Review #270: Moto Rush GT (Nintendo Switch)
Updated: May 17, 2019
Reviewer: John B Developed By: Baltoro Games Published By: Baltoro Games Category: Racing, Sports, Arcade, Action Release Date: 04.19.19 Price (At Time of Review): $14.99
Buy Moto Rush GT from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
You know when you’re driving home after a long day of work and you get stuck behind a giant truck and then some a-hole on a motorcycle zips by weaving between traffic and driving on places that aren’t technically in a lane? Do you want to be that a-hole? If yes, Baltoro Games and I have some great news! Their latest release, Moto Rush GT for the Nintendo Switch, is a motorcycle driving sim that at first blush appears to be sort of a racing game. There isn’t really much racing going on, at least in the traditional racing game sense. For the most part, you’re only racing the clock, but let’s get this review properly started.
Bob and Weave
There’s no story here, so I guess we’ll just get into gameplay. Like I said in the intro, it’s a motorcycle driving game. You use the Switch’s motion controls to maneuver your bike; tilt your Joy-Con/Pro controller/undocked Switch to the left, you turn left. Tilt it right, the bike turns right. You can accelerate or break using the triggers or the button pad; both work well enough. You can hit the X button to pop a wheelie, which is required for certain mission types. There are five lanes of traffic for you to weave into and out of, with cars and traffic populating the streets to give you moving obstacles to get around. Sometimes all five lanes of traffic are heading the same way you are; sometimes, there are two lanes going in the opposite direction. There are also road blocks and construction areas that are stationary obstacles, and ramps for you to jump off.
You accumulate points for things like doing stunts (popping wheelies, jumping ramps), getting close to other cars without touching them (a “near miss,” in the game’s terminology), driving really fast (over 100 KM/h), and driving into oncoming traffic. Getting hit by a car or running into a barrier doesn’t carry much of a penalty, you just lose your speed and if you have a near miss streak going you have to start the counter again at one. The points you get are both experience and money. Experience points level you up, and leveling up unlocks new tracks for certain game modes and new bikes in the garage. Money lets you buy and upgrade these new bikes.
You Can’t Handle These Bars
I generally liked the control scheme, but there are some pretty big gameplay differences between playing the game docked vs undocked. First of all, it’s way easier to steer (for me, at least) while playing undocked. The turning feels more natural and responsive than it does with a Pro controller or detached Joy-Con. The second big difference, which granted is a very situational issue, is that when you pop a wheelie while playing undocked, you lose a lot more of your field of vision. You can’t really see the cars ahead of you anymore. But if you pop a wheelie while docked, your field of vision is virtually unchanged; you can see as far ahead of you as you could while you are riding flat. For missions that require you to perform stunts, it’s way more convenient to play docked.
Rules of the Road
There are three different game modes. Career mode is a 100 mission campaign of different challenges that provide you with bigger rewards than the other modes – at least they do the first time you complete a mission. Mission types range from driving a certain distance within a certain time limit, performing stunts for a certain amount of time within a time limit, driving on the wrong side of the road for a certain distance within a certain time limit, or getting a certain number of near misses… within a certain time limit. So, there’s no racing, but in pretty much every Career mission you’re up against the clock. Arcade mode is a free drive mode. You select a track and drive until you eat pavement. Time Trial puts two minutes on the clock; you have to accumulate as many points as possible within that time frame. Popping wheelies while driving too fast on the wrong side of the road really racks up the points in that one.
So… the game doesn’t exactly reinforce responsible driving habits, which isn’t a problem for reasonably intelligent people who know the difference between video games and real life. No, the game’s real problem comes from how quickly the missions start to feel repetitive. While the gameplay is well put-together and functional, all you’re really doing is racing the clock. A traditional racing mode would have been a lot of fun with the game mechanics on display in Moto Rush GT. I feel it would have elevated the excitement level of the game while adding more variety to the gameplay.
The game’s garage is pretty simple. You start out with two scooters and a small motorcycle. As you gain levels, newer, bigger, and cooler bikes get unlocked. You have to buy the bikes before you can use them, even after you’ve unlocked them. Each bike has three stats; power, handling, and brakes. Power determines your acceleration and max speed, and I found it to be the most important stat. Handling and brakes are pretty self-explanatory (so was power, come to think of it), but I didn’t feel much difference in the way a bike handled when I upgraded those stats so I’m not sure they’re worth spending the money on. You can also freely change colors and skins on each of your bikes. I appreciate the fact that the devs put some customization options in, but the stat boosts (aside from power) were hardly noticeable and you don’t really ever get to see much of your bike while you’re in action. The game is played from a first-person perspective, so all you really see are the handlebars.
Running Around the Tracks
Moto Rush GT’s graphics are presentable, but not top-of-the-line. They look a little last-gen, but sport decently detailed models for cars, bikes, and backgrounds. Things can get a little pixelated-looking, especially on the Switch’s undocked screen, but overall there’s nothing wrong with the game’s visuals. The music is a bright spot despite the relative lack of variety in the tracks. There are maybe ten different songs, including menu music, but they are all a variation of some sort of upbeat, exciting, electronic tune that fits the high-speed atmosphere the game tries to cultivate well.
Slow Your Roll
Moto Rush GT has a lot of positive points. The controls are intuitive and mostly responsive – well, they’re more responsive when you’re playing undocked but still not terrible if you prefer to play docked, at least. The mission types are fun for a little while and the music gets you pumped to play. Unfortunately, things fall off fast. By the time I was around twenty missions in, things just felt very same-y and I was ready for some more variety in the challenges that never really came. A proper racing mode would have been a fun fit for the gameplay, I think, and its absence made the existing missions seem all the more repetitive. A true competition like a race ensures that even if every mission objective is the same (Drive faster than everyone else), the execution of the level is different every time you play. Jockeying for position and overcoming the randomized obstacles or unique situations ensures a fresh experience with each race. As presented, Moto Rush GT is a well-designed gameplay model that doesn’t take full advantage of itself, and that’s a shame.
Buy Moto Rush GT from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Baltoro Games