Kamikaze Race is one of those “guilty pleasure” games. You know, the kind where what have to do is something that (hopefully) you wouldn’t do in real life. In this case you’re weaving in and out of traffic, trying to go as fast as you possibly can. It’s a simple game that can actually become a bit addictive. In the end, however, it suffers the most from being almost too simple.
Your main objective is to stay alive. To do this you must move your car left and right, avoiding the traffic that’s moving too slow or the traffic coming up too fast behind you. In the worst case scenario you could jump into the three oncoming lanes of traffic to your left, but they’re a little bit harder to dodge. As a secondary goal there are some achievements to be unlocked which can be posted to your Facebook account should you have one and choose to integrate. To move your car you press the left and right buttons at the bottom of the screen. The car’s pretty responsive, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out some weird “press a couple seconds early” type of scenario. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t offer accelerator control as an option, but the buttons work really well, so I’m not complaining. As you run into cars you take damage, and when your damage meter is full your car explodes in a nice ball of flame.
The game is actually pretty good about pulling you back in for “just one more try”, especially while you’re attempting to unlock the other two playable cars. Unfortunately, that’s really all there is to the game. It’s not bad, but it feels more like a mini-game than an actual full fledged game. It would be nice if there were some other play modes. I could see it being real interesting having a mode where you’re only speeding through oncoming traffic. Or how about a mode where you have levels and each level you have to pick up a certain amount of items, or more deviously, have to wreck a certain number of cars of a various color. There are plenty of possibilities, and I think the game would be greatly enhanced if one or two of them were tossed in to the mix.
The visuals in Kamikaze Race are pretty good, albeit a bit small. There’s a nice variety of different cars to look at, and a couple you really have to watch out for because their color is pretty close to that of the road. The special effects, which consist mainly of sparks when you brush against a car or an explosion when you’ve taken all the damage you can handle, look good. The only thing that seems a bit odd is the “wiggle” of your car when it’s settling into a lane. The main sound effects are your revving engine, your tires squealing as you change lanes, and the rush of oncoming traffic. Of course, there’s a nice sound when the explosion happens as well. While I’d hate to see every car honk, it would be nice if every once in a while one of the cars reacted to your joyride. The cursing drivers can be left out, though. I really like the music, but I’m surprised that you don’t have the option of listening to your own tunes. I guess the radio must be broke.
As a mini-game, Kamikaze Race is a lot of fun. I’m just not quite sure it can stand the long haul as a full fledged game in its current state. It looks and sounds good, but the game play, while addictive at first, does tend to get old after a while. Through in a few extra game modes with something more to do than just dodging everything and you’d have quite a nice little game in Kamikaze Race.