Car Quest initially won me over with its retro presentation and collectathon approach. As time passed, however, entertaining exploration turned into aimless backtracking as I drove in circles searching for how to unlock the next area. While the game advertises “Hit the road to epic adventure,” I think I’m ready to return to the garage.

This game succeeds and fails by Blocktaria, a world which seems to recall the Atari Jaguar. I want to be clear that this is no bad thing as far as I’m concerned. Prior to the Nintendo 64, I was rocking both the Jag and 3DO, as a mid-‘90s kid who evidently was good at saving his allowance. The shaded polygons here really do appeal to me, a retro look that goes beyond the usual 8-bit pixel art more commonly recalled. Another Jag callback is Blockstar, who pops up in the corner from time to time as a talking head, not unlike the “Where did you learn to fly?” bald hologram from Cybermorph.

Anyway, now that I’ve dated myself, let’s talk more about some of the early gameplay in Car Quest. You drive around collecting numerous batteries and artifacts that unlock new sections. You’ll run into some light puzzles, like driving into movable blocks to create pathways. I found distinguishing between what’s moveable and what’s not was difficult, in handheld mode at least. Another puzzle involved driving up the walls, which sounds exciting, but wound up a bit annoying. I found a few timed areas that were generous enough that I didn’t run into any trouble. Rinse and repeat… even though the game fell into a predictable pattern early, I was still enjoying it more often than not.

Car Quest starts running out of gas through its failure to recall where you’re going next. New areas are unlocked one at a time, often as small openings revealed via speedy cutscenes. These are very easy to forget, especially if you put the game down for a bit. So, I found myself searching through overly familiar looking sections hoping to stumble upon my next path. This became worse after the first few hours, as the world continued to grow.

This is a sizable design oversight in my view. While it makes sense that the developers would know the game inside and out for this not to be a factor, as a first-time player it really took away the fun I was having. This linear approach just shows that the world of Blocktaria, while appealing to my retro side, is not interesting enough to pull off such repetition.

It’s such a shame because Car Quest really seemed like it’d be a great match for me. But an agreeable presentation and solid gameplay only go so far. The design, which promotes directionless repetition, took away from the positives for me. Having my car get stuck, albeit just once, didn’t help either.

I hope EZone can patch this game soon, as I’m hardly alone in my feedback. I believe Car Quest is a very good game, saddled by an omission that lands it firmly in average territory on Nintendo Switch. Hopefully, a tune-up can unlock more of this game’s potential enjoyment.