Avatar Grand Pix 2 is an XBLA racing game created by indie studio Battenberg Software. Released on January 24th and available for only 80 MSP this little racer sports a retro look and feel that takes only moments to get comfortable with.
Avatar Grand Pix 2 feels so much like Mario Kart that it’s a complement to the game. Many other casual racing games out there have copied the Mario Kart model so this isn’t a new concept. Even the most causal gamer will notice that Avatar Grand Pix 2 share many similar features from power ups to the drift trick. For the $1 cost though, this is a very admirable accomplishment.
Graphics are considerably well done for a game this of this value. Most of the 12 maps areunique and do not feel monotonous in layout or design. Having the ability to run mirrored and reversed tracks can add some replay and as well as provide new challenges. A few of the tracks did use a repeating pattern which could become dizzying to some. Adding an element to the roads would have been a nice addition. For instance dirt and sand tracks should respond differently than pavement.
Car mechanics respond well and the drift feature was actually very well balanced. Maneuvering your car should come naturally to most as the controls are very responsive. Only issue you might notice is that you’ll bounce off the wall in a strong ricochet fashion which can create
a pinball effective on narrow roads. Outside of this, the controls are good enough to go unnoticed and feel natural.
Most of the maps in Avatar Grand Pix 2 are very short and some 3 lap races that can even be completing in under a minute. These quick races are also fairly easy to beat. The biggest challenge might be to see by how much you can beat the rest of the competition. The games biggest value though will be in playing with friends. Avatar Grand Pix 2 can be played online with up to 8 players and split screen for up to 4 people. Having a group of friends to compete against could add significant replay to Avatar Grand Pix 2. The ability to play split screen is also a nice feature that would add shelf life to this little racer. Play solo will give you about 30 minutes of play time before you’ll master and be ready to move on from this racer.
Equivalent in cost to a bag of M&M’s, Avatar Grand Pix 2 offers tremendous value for a well crafted game. Because of the simplicity and ease of use it’s well suited for the causal gamer looking for a fun time with friends. Unfortunately there just as few wow moments as there are faults in this little game. So if Mario Kart clones are not exactly your style you may just be better off buying the bag of M&M’s.