Release Date: June 14th, 2013
Publisher: Bigben Interactive
Platform: [Reviewed: XBLA], PSN
Rated: T for Teen
Racing games give players the chance to defy the speed limit and push their virtual vehicles to its absolute limit. Some racing games include a boost mechanic to blaze past the competition in flaming glory and Fireburst is one such game. But be warned, too much heat and your need for speed may just cost you the race.
This arcade racer has 4 modes to choose from in single-player: Quick Race, Fireburst Racing League, Race, and Destruction. As the name states, Quick Race allows you to jump right into the action, Fireburst Racing League is a series of challenges for you to complete to unlock more characters and vehicles which doesn’t really add anything to the core experience, Race allows you to choose your character, car, and track, and Destruction is a demolition derby.
Every car falls under one of four Special abilities that grant your car offensive capabilities, all of which is activated by boosting. The boost mechanic is the most interesting aspect in the game. You have a meter on the left hand side of the screen that you must keep an eye on because if you boost for too long you explode!
Every time you boost your car emits flames from its exhausts, building up the meter indicating that you’re being cooked alive inside a metal deathtrap! This gives Fireburst a nice twist though, balancing speed with tactics, but this can become frustrating, even infuriating as initially you will more than likely blow yourself up multiple times.
Destruction ends up being the poor man’s Twisted Metal because of the limited weapons, or in this case, lack thereof. Using the aforementioned boost-triggered abilities you have to be in close proximity to do any sort of damage and in the end it just turns into deadly bumper cars. This mode for the game could’ve worked fine if it simply implemented ranged attacks or projectiles, especially when other games like Crash Team Racing and Mario Kart utilizes both close and far ranged combat perfectly.
I’ll have to admit that Fireburst looks really good. Witness gorgeous locales as you race through canyons, nighttime refineries, and airplane graveyards, each with its own sense of personality and life. The controls are easy to pick up and works without a hitch, but underneath the beauty of the tracks are invisible walls and weird physics that can send your car flying, thankfully this was an extremely rare occurrence. The soundtrack consists of an assortment of rock music that fits into the theme well enough, but the one thing that will give your blood a boil is the characters incessant need to spout ridiculous and annoying taunts which luckily be muted.
I wanted to say something about the online multiplayer, but whenever I attempt to join a game I can never connect. I suppose no one is even playing online. Regardless, I invited a few of friends to test out local multiplayer, and while enjoyable, I noticed that they don’t add in AI racers to fill in the gap. If there were active players to race against online or maybe they fix whatever is causing this difficulty to connect then the multiplayer would be a huge selling point due to how much fun me and my friends had.
Fireburst takes a tired-and-true mechanic and put its own twist to it. It pays off as the constant threat of causing your own car to combust in flames is intense at times, forcing you to use you boosts and Special attacks wisely. But in the end Fireburst is a bare bones racer that offers little content in solo and multiplayer. If they had an appropriate Death Race-esque story to accommodate the lack of single-player content then there would be incentive to continue coming back, and the empty online multiplayer leaves only split-screen. The game is beautiful and the controls are solid, but the overall game is a disappointing experience when it had the clear potential to become something great.
Replay Ability: 2.25/5
Overall Rating: 2.5/5