Okay, what is this game called; Grand Prix: Rock ‘n Racing or Rock ‘n Racing Grand Prix? It doesn’t seem to know, either. The eShop page and the in-game announcer call it the former, but the game art and icon refer to it as the latter. Released on the Wii U in 2016 before coming back for round two on the Switch four months ago, this title seemed like it would be a serviceable throwback to oldschool top-down racers (emphasis on “seemed”). What we actually got was a question: Why the heck did this get ported to Switch?
The graphics are passable at best, in need of improvement at worst. The environments don’t have a lot of variety; you’ll mostly just see long stretches of road no matter what the track is shaped like. It all feels rather primitive and same-y. I can name many other top-down racers from the top of my head that look a lot more interesting than this.
Similarly, the music feels like it all blends together in the background. For a game that goes as far as to feature its style of music in the game’s title, Rock ‘n Racing sure has lacking rock ‘n roll. At least the announcer tries to keep a sense of enthusiasm going with his quips, I guess. Too bad the races are never as exciting as he makes them out to be.
The game consists of a ten-track marathon, and each one only differs from one another in the kinds and quantities of turns you’d have to make. Everything else goes through the same exact motions. Even if they did have anything exciting to offer, the experience would still be pushed to the ground by the awful car controls. It takes decades for the car to turn, meaning the only way you could make 95% of the turns in the game is by slowing down and using the brakes so you don’t careen straight into the wall. It’s clunky, it’s slow, and it’s anything but fun. You can try upgrading your vehicle all you want, but it never gets rid of these problems; it only very slightly makes it a tad more manageable…which really doesn’t mean much.
As such, I can’t for the life of me recommend Grand Prix: Rock ‘n Racing. It is terrible with a capital T. It’s not worth the effort to adjust to its awful controls to play a monotonous slog of unmemorable tracks. There isn’t even much else to do in the game aside from the campaign. There are time trials for tracks you already played through, and you could get a friend to face the pain with you. Simply put: Don’t bother with this one. There are better racers to play on this very system, not to mention the consoles that house the kind of games this one is clearly inspired by. Maybe someone should give Super Off Road the emulation treatment on the Switch in the near future.
Review copy provided by EnjoyUp Games