Developer: LongAnimals & BiscuitLocker
Format: PC (browser/flash)
Coaster Racer 3 is the first racing game I will have ever reviewed. It's a really simple game about racing a rather small array of vehicles on a sort of roller coaster style race track, hence the name. As you progress through levels there are more vehicles introduced with each able to be upgraded via the money you earn in racing. This way it's not a total rinse and repeat system. Not a total one...
Races are one lap around a decently long track similar to that of a roller coaster in the account of its verticality. There are lots of ups and downs as well as lefts and rights. Not being able to see if there's a left right behind this upcoming hill can be nerve racking, forcing you to have quick reflexes if you want to keep up with the pace of the race! Things like traffic cones litter the track to slow you down as a consequence for not having the reflexes to dodge them. Other things like jumps feel automatic, as if it's not really a challenge, but it does disorientate the camera to keep you on your toes in case of a sudden turn immediately afterwards.
After completing a race you can go back to a previous race either to get easy money or to choose to one or two extra challenges for extra money. These are simple challenges like a time trial or an extra race. They don't provide too much money compared to normal races but at least the time trials are different in the fact that there are no other drivers.
The feeling you get when racing can be slightly altered by both the type of vehicle you're racing with as well as the upgrades you bought for it. You start off with a basic buggy, later unlocking a motorcycle, and then lastly an F3. Each one is slightly different with some advantages and disadvantages. For example, the bike is easier to maneuver in but does a wheelie at the beginning of a race, making you look straight up instead of at the people you're trying to get around.
The upgrades include top speed, acceleration, brakes, handling, nitro power, and host stages. They're all essentially what they sound like, with the exception of nitro power and boost stages, which I'll go into later. These are leveled up by spending the money you earn in races, but can only be leveled up so much. You can only level up and upgrade a maximum of ten times before it reaches 100%. Each upgrade feels useful except one, which is the one called brakes. There is no point in using the breaks, as you can make every turn fine without slowing down and doing so only allows everyone else to go faster. Less things to dump money into I suppose.
Driving itself is fast-paced. You are always on the gas and never sung the breaks. The tracks, aside from having the traffic cones and what not, are surprisingly barren. This isn't bad as instead of you suddenly being stopped by something in your break-neck speed, the only true obstacles are the other racers. You see, there is no crashing, so whenever you're behind a racer you have to work your way around him, while still dealing with turns and traffic cones. Falling off is definitely possible and can set you back quite a ways. At least you're teleported back into the action almost instantly.
Racing is fun overall but there is the problem is if you're simply fir fast enough to reach the people in front of you. That simply isn't fair. This is why they have the nitro mechanic. You have a selection of bars that once filled up, you can use as a speed boost. There is a good amount strategy to it as when you use a nitro bar the progress in the one being filled up is deleted to, making a debate of whether to wait to use one or not. The best feature about the nitro is the freestyle mode. Freestyle mode fills up your nitro bars very quickly at the price of not being able to turn. This forces you to judge when or when not to use free style mode, weighing the risks and rewards.
The visuals aren't stunning, but they are 3D, which isn't something done often when using Flash as an engine. It's not too badly done, especially with almost everything blazing past you as you're racing. Things like the menus are basic, and the other drivers aren't above or below the par that I would assign this game. I find it a nice touch that this game is in first person, so that when you race you can see the driver turn the steering wheel and everything. It's a charming little detail.
The sound design is weird, and probably the worst aspect of this game. The music is a decent and fitting rock piece, but that only covers the menu screens. There's no music past that, so all you hear during the races is the monotone hum of the vehicle with the occasional sound of you hitting another driver or a traffic cone. It's awkward and makes things feel less polished. One of those games you'd have to find your own audio to, be it music or a podcast.
Despite the lack of music when it matters most and the uselessness of the brakes, Coaster Racer 3 isn't too bad. It kinda has a mediocre feel to it but as far as 3D racing games running on Flash go? Not too shabby. It is really a game to sit down and blaze through. Keeping up with freestyle mode and nitro adds some fun things into the mix of otherwise basic racing. This is the third in the series but there is most certainly room for improvement, so if it ever comes to be I'm actually interested in a fourth installment.
Play Coaster Racer 3 HERE