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Fumes is a Mad Max-tinted open world Twisted Metal full of absolutely furious rally cars

Positively smoking

A rally car with a gun on top of it cavorting away from an explosion in open world combat racer Fumes
Image credit: Fumes team

Fumes has starred in a few Screenshot Saturday round-ups but this is the first time, to my knowledge, that somebody from the Treehouse has slipped behind the wheel and taken this crusty old banger for a spin. I am glad to have done so. Created by a team of four, Fumes is the Mad Max X Vigilante 8 adaptation somebody really should have made in the 90s, when the very thought of such a thing would have had me flipping tables and then sheepishly righting them again, before being sent to bed with no dinner.

It's an open world combat racer with boisterous arcade handling, pop-out guns that wiggle about like hood ornaments, some kaiju-wannabe boss vehicles, a delightfully crunchy, sooty artstyle and a passably earwormy metal soundtrack. I'm not entirely convinced it has longevity beyond its impeccably scorched and dented PS1 vibes, but I definitely think you should try the demo, now that the early access version is out.

At the very least, you can watch the latest trailer, below, though I must caution you that it was made for the PC Gaming Show and contains PCGamer branding. Don't worry: there are representations of rocks and shotguns in the footage, too, and some of those bits of flying detritus are likely pieces of paper. Thanks for the promotion, FUMES team!

Watch on YouTube

As described on its Steam page, Fumes "is a single-player game inspired by the golden era of vehicular combat genre. Straight-forward, fast paced, intense gameplay. Get into the car, slap some weapons on and cruise twisted wastes." Don't mind if I do. There's an upgrades treadmill and customisation element in the shape of a mobile chop shop, but it doesn't feel like a game where you've got to add 5% to your spiked fender every 10 minutes to survive. Missions consist of racing or massacring the other drivers that throng the wilderness, delivering packages and wrecking bosses, some of which are large enough I'd love to board them using a jump ramp and play Fumes like a post-apocalyptic rodeo machine.

I'm not sure if Fumes has a story beyond the timeless Dostoevskian tale of cars killing cars for parts, but it has a storied landscape. Travel far enough in a direction and you'll encounter beached tankers (some of which have monster tyres), skeletal oil rigs and some surprisingly green and flourishing swathes of forestland. I'm not trying to portray this as a meticulous piece of found storytelling, but there are hints of a pre-apocalyptic past to occupy the voyager when you aren't busy murdering icecream vans. Anyway, they're saying it'll be in early access for roughly a year, with the current build offering "all core features and a few hours of gameplay".

In other news, I've just checked the Wikipedia page for "vehicular combat game" and they're saying it's a dead genre. Iunno what to think of that, but it's certainly been a while since the last Destruction Derby.

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