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In Which You Build The Track As You Race: Krautscape

Trawling through Steam Greenlight might often lead to the feeling that you're trapped in a labyrinth minefield of well-meaning but not necessarily, er, high-quality offerings, but every once in a while it yields a gem of absolutely gleaming promise. Such is the case with beautiful-looking, bonkers-sounding all-terrain (including sky) racer Krautscape. It sees you rocketing around in tightly coiled airplane cars, down a track that grows on the fly at the whim of whomever's in first place. Given that only a thin sliver of red earth separates you from the sky's unbreakable gravity lasso, odds are someone's going to fall. And then? Why, your car unfurls its wings, of course! More cars need wings, I think. Let's be honest here: that would easily solve most of humanity's most pressing problems.

Win or lose, this looks like a game where I will be screaming, "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" pretty much the whole time. I am quite OK with this.

But how's it work? Magic? Alien bloodomancy? Shakespearean typewriter monkeys? Not quite, but close. It's more like this:

"Krautscape is an action-packed multi-player racing game where the currently leading player builds the track during the race. The track, as the most important part of any racing game, emerges dynamically during gameplay. This leads to a completely original and unique gaming experience for every race."

"The chasing players can take shortcuts by flying off the track to overcome obstacles. But the track is needed to score and to get speed – the vehicles don't have any thrusters to accelerate while flying."

So flight is more of a safety net with benefits than a game-breaking ascent into the win-o-sphere. That's a nice balance, if you ask me.

It looks positively brilliant, but obviously, feel and tactility matter a lot here. A racer can have all the cool tricks it wants. If it doesn't handle well, then everything else is fit for the scrap heap. So we'll see.

Krautscape will be out late this year. If you're keen on it, I imagine its developers would very much appreciate it if you chopped off one of your thumbs and handed it to them on Greenlight (symbolically, mind you; RPS does not endorse self-mutilation for the purposes of game promotion).

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Nathan Grayson


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