Coffin Dodgers Switch Review by Nindie Spotlight

Developer: Milky Tea

Publisher: Wales Interactive

Release Date: March 13th 2018

Price as of Article: $12.99 USD

Story

The premise of Coffin Dodgers seems promising enough and ripe for some humour: You belong to a group of geriatrics from a retirement home that convinces the Grim Reaper to indulge you in a race for your lives. The stakes are high as only one of you will ultimately face off against him, but if you win you’ll be able to save everyone. While it is a funny enough concept, and when you win the campaign it leads to a somewhat funny note to end on, for the most part, it is an idea wasted, unfortunately.

Audio

For the most part, it’s nothing to get too thrilled about. The music is a forgettable loop, there are a variety of sound effects that fit the action, and that’s about it. While you’d think there would be some opportunities for some silly potty humour to mock the old people racing, with a variety of gassy afflictions or the like, it just doesn’t happy, unfortunately.

Visuals & Performance
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In hot pursuit

If you were expecting something along the lines of Mario Kart you’ll, unfortunately, be more than a little disappointed. Not only is it lacking in lush details in the geometry and textures, but the colours are generally muted. You can generally always make out the action fairly well so there’s not a concern with getting confused about what’s going on but it’s also pretty unambitious.

Gameplay

Going through the balance of concerns for racing games the track design is decent but, for the most part generic. There are simply too many stretches of track lacking in detail and interest. Boost strips and ramps make an occasional appearance but mostly feel under-utilized. Some hazards are present in limited cases in specific areas but nothing screams “inspired” despite the very specific theming in the game. That extends to your choices in racers, who are at least visually eclectic but in terms of performance seem completely identical. Your opportunity to differentiate comes from collecting coins which you can then use to purchase upgrades for your scooter, whether to improve your basket (tied to your item pick-ups) or your melee weapon range on top of the normal racing suspects. Local multiplayer isn’t incredible, though mostly due to the nature of the entire racing experience and not faulting it specifically.

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Take that, you old fart!

Where Dodgers struggles the worst is really in terms of the big picture, putting all of the various pieces together to form a compelling whole. The racing isn’t too bad or sloppy, it’s just not hard to see that, for the most part, it’s unremarkable even if the core story has the potential for amusement. Aside from the characters, the karts themselves, and one particular power-up there’s not much capitalizing on this being a bunch of geriatric racers. A used colostomy bag instead of an oil slick? Racing through the old folks home itself? It just feels like there are missed opportunities.

While the final resolution to the game’s story mode has some humour at least the final showdown race with the Grim Reaper himself was completely underwhelming as well. In terms of overall race dynamics, the worst elements are that when you’re hit or crash you immediately lose your power-ups and once you really get behind there’s not much that will get you back to the rest of the pack. This means that if you’re in the lead and get hit with a string of bad luck (in particular from missiles) you can easily drop to last and have little opportunity to get back into the race. Then, just as a general note, while you do accumulate experience (including bonus experience for hitting cones and objects on the track) I’m still unclear what purpose it serves as a whole. There’s just a collection of questions and issues that don’t completely add up.

Value

In terms of the return on your investment it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand obviously the price of admission is a fraction of the likes of Mario Kart and the game is certainly playable, whether alone or split-screen with friends locally. That said, unless you’re specifically looking for something “different” to play and have tired of Mario, or you’re really that strapped for cash, it’s adequate. It’s in a field with a limited number of similarly-priced budget kart racers that are all lacking in quality to go with the reduced price. Which one is the best of that pack will be a matter of opinion but at least for the sense of humor perhaps Coffin Dodgers gets the edge as long as you have other people to play with.

Pros

P

A unique theme… though somewhat criminally under-utilized

P

Overall, kart handling is decent

P

Cons

P

The single-player campaign ends with a whimper

P

Too many stretches of track that lack excitement

P

Fails to pull away from the rest of the average kart-racer pack

P