I’ve nostalgic memories of Super Off Road, both in the arcades and on Nintendo consoles. Rock ‘N Racing Off Road is based upon that classic, seen in both its title and design.  Sadly it hasn’t injected that nostalgic template with enough modern touches, and in fact has made various cuts.  Worse, there’s a number of serious problems which make enjoyment come skidding to a halt.

Rock N Racing America Cup

Each cup has essentially the same four, unimaginative tracks.

The game has four modes.  Championship is the first, which presents four cups using separate vehicles in each.  Time Trial follows, and has no rival racers present.  It records your best times for cups, but oddly not individual tracks.  Training mode lets you test each vehicle in a sparse circle, but offers no control direction whatsoever.  Last is multiplayer, which can support up to five players.  A “wide variety of tracks” are promised, but in reality there are just the same four, single screen designs, which are repeated.  Slapping a new flag in the background, or changing arrow directions does not a new track make!  Repetition sets in early due to lack of variety.  The game doesn’t even give you the option to adjust lap numbers in most modes.  The designs aren’t exactly bursting with creativity either – a circle, a figure eight, etc.   Poor track selection is easily one of Rock ‘N Racing’s most sizable failures.

This is a difficult game.  Part of that stems from the bizarre computer opponents.  They’ll just as soon lose a race themselves if it means running you off course!  It makes the game more an elaborate bumper car session than a racer.  If you want a challenge from clever Ai, you simply will not find it here. Further down I’ll expound on just how awful this is.  Another difficulty aspect is the disappointing lack of options.  For starts, there are no challenge settings. Further, there’s no means to configure or improve the scant selection of four vehicles, an area which Super Off Road excelled.

Rock N Racing - Euro Cup

Recognize these four dull tracks?  Don’t let the name change fool you!

The game has a solid enough audio package. The music is okay and not overbearing, while some voice work livens things up.  It can get repetitive (and potentially annoy) but it fits the game’s arcade spirit.  Nevertheless an option to mute it should’ve been included. As far as graphics go, it’s a colorful title with nice HD sheen.  There is no mirror mode however, for reasons unknown.  A standard feature for games not making unique use of the GamePad, EnjoyUp has simply used the Pad to display the title logo!  The game does have Off-TV play, but this omission really rubs me the wrong way.  The vehicles are only a few pixels large also (really too small) so this odd setup does no favors.  There’s some nice animations and details that deserve better too.  Overall this just draws attention to the games overly high view.  It’s actually possible to lose your vehicle behind scenery, and it’ll likely happen due to the game’s control. I’ll elaborate …

Rock N Racing - training circle

Training mode – No direction, but it’ll let you practice mastering the weak controls.  Warning – you’ll stick to walls like you’re coated in glue.

Super Off Road had quick and responsive controls.  It was a basic setup, but had charm and was fun. The same can’t be said of Rock ‘N Racing.  Controls have advanced a lot over the years, and its scheme simply feels clunky, outdated, and quite poor.  As the choice was made to unfortunately lock out the majority of game content, you’ll need to be determined to master control for all four finicky vehicles.  I will say that one area EnjoyUp continues to excel in is offering control options.  But while I appreciate the choices, success in this game boils down to just as much chance (if not more) than it does skill.  Why do I say that?

Rock N Racing - track

Race against broken Ai, and watch out for glitches.

This game is glitchy.  One bug I frequently encountered was my vehicle freezing in place (on open ground mind you!) and not responding to the gas.  The dev’s have acknowledged this possibility, so I’m hopeful it’ll be addressed.  Even the leaderboards (usually a welcomed feature) suffer from odd limitations, very long load times, “error” messages, and bugs.  These aren’t the worst however. The worst brings us back to the already poor cpu racers.

The Ai racers upon crashing will respawn further up the track.  Meanwhile you will never respawn – you’re forced to hold down reverse, which is painfully slow!  The cpu is rewarded for bad driving while you’re severely punished. What makes this glitch especially bad is that it’s … not a glitch at all – EnjoyUp has confirmed the cpu drivers are intentionally programmed to cheat and be unfair!  Frankly, I’d rather have this be a glitch – knowing that this was deliberate design …

Rock N Racing - no mirror

Why have mirror mode when you can simply display a title logo?

Having waited over a year for this game, I’ve a hard time believing this finished product represents what Enjoy Up intended.  Only four real tracks, poor control, glitches, and broken Ai amongst a host of other problems … clearly something went very, very wrong! This isn’t the sort of game you’ll want to beat, never mind replay. New tracks may come (if the game is a success) but hopefully the promised patch can at the very least fix the glitches.  Until then Rock ‘N Roll Racing Off Road is simply an awful game. Spend your money on some of EnjoyUp’s good Wii U releases instead.