Make Way is a multiplayer racing game developed by Ice BEAM and published by Secret Mode. The premise of this game is to race against NPCs, local friends, or online opponents based on the tracks you built. Honestly, this title isn’t what I expected it to be, so let’s talk about it.

One of the main selling points of Make Way is the multiplayer. It has cross-platform online co-op, which is great. The few times I connected with someone online, it was usually me and one other person. Otherwise, it wasn’t often other people were online. I was able to play a few times with my sister and cousins, and that was a lot more fun. (Mostly because we were so bad at it.)

I mostly played by myself to get the hang of the controls. There are a decent number of cars to choose from, but other than looks, they’re all the same. No car is faster or easier to handle than the rest. There are no stats to think about; just grab your favorite-looking car and go.

When playing alone, there are four modes: Race, Classic, Chaos, and Custom. The only mode that’s unlocked at first is Race. Here, you can customize how many NPCs you want to play against and their difficulty: Training, Easy, Medium, Hard, or Extreme. I stuck with training, not because the NPCs posed a threat, but because I struggled with the controls.

When getting into a race, a handful of track pieces appear. You and the other players get to choose one and then piece them together to make one track. So, instead of doing laps on one track, the road is one long continuous piece. Each piece marks a new checkpoint. You’ll earn points based on passing checkmarks and whether you’re the first one to cross the finish line. This process repeats until someone reaches a certain amount of points. This means that some races will have five rounds total, and others may be much longer; it all depends on how well you and your friends (or NPCs) play.

But, of course, this is where the controls in Make Way get wonky. I wasn’t a huge fan. I think out of habit, I expected my car to be controlled similarly to Mario Kart. However, I would describe these controls more as “ragdoll physics.” I’m not sure if that’s what it actually is or if I’m simply terrible at controlling my vehicle. There’s no drifting, but there may be a lot of sharp turns. You hold down the A-button to accelerate and press B to break. If you jam the left analog stick too hard, your car will turn right around. It’s not easy to get your car back on track (no pun intended) because the camera only follows whoever is in the first place. If they get too far ahead and you get cut off-screen, then your car blows up, and you can’t finish that track.

Luckily, each track acts as a checkpoint. So, if you can’t finish, you’ll teleport to the next track and get to start from there as soon as the first player reaches that threshold. It’s not that you don’t quite lose the race entirely, but because you couldn’t finish that track, you’ll earn no points. I didn’t necessarily mind this, but it got annoying at the same time. When I did play online, I’d get matched with people who clearly played the game more often than I did. So, I barely got to finish my tracks. Once someone gets to a certain amount of points, no matter how many more rounds there are, it becomes one-sided and you know you’ve lost no matter what you do.

The thing is, you want to get first place in Make Way. Otherwise, you don’t earn any points to unlock anything. Even if you get second place, you don’t earn any points for your overall level. There’s a lot to unlock in the game, too: new track pieces, cars, other gameplay modes, hazards for the tracks, and more.

In other words, Make Way can be a bit of a grind at times. For a multiplayer game, I actually preferred to play alone because that was my best shot at earning points to unlock new things for the game.

I unlocked Classic Mode next, and I ultimately decided to stick with Race Mode. Classic is described as “the way the game is meant to be played.” There are few to no walls on the tracks, speed boosts now exist, and there are items and hazards. The items weren’t anything interesting. I didn’t understand how they worked, mostly because I’d almost always run off the side of the track before being able to do anything.

Earlier, I mentioned that Make Way wasn’t the game I expected. I thought I’d get to build my own tracks and share them with friends and online. (Think Super Mario Maker, but with race tracks.) I didn’t expect to build the track one piece at a time during the race and then not be able to play it again. I’m sure that’s what Custom Mode is, but I didn’t make it to level ten to unlock that mode.

After a while, Make Way felt like a chore. I had to keep playing to unlock more features and modes, but it became grindy and repetitive. I did have fun with the game and think it’s a unique spin on the racing genre. If you’re looking for something different in the racing genre, then certainly give this game a try. However, keep in mind that the controls are a learning curve and you won’t be able to do much in-game until you unlock a decent amount of things by playing it for a few hours first.