"What if instead of the track we just had a massive tube in space?" says one executive of the failing Formula 1 to the other, sometime in the future. "With hovercars and casual disregard for safety!" he continues, getting worked up. Thus, Radial-G: Racing Revolved is born in all its alliterative glory, a high-speed racer about desperately trying to not fly headlong into oblivion. It's been on Early Access for a couple of months, just had a major recent update and I've had a little play.
Radial-G isn't dull, but it hasn't yet got verve to match the high concept. It's not for lack of speed - once you really get going and manage to hit a few of the ramps or boosters in a row, the track, other cars and obstacles begin to fly past almost imperceptibly. It's more that it feels empty for much of the time, not enough to distinguish one minute of holding the accelerator from another. Once the initial pack of opponents breaks up, they're too sparse to keep regularly in view and provide a goal to stay or get ahead.
The other problem is that it's an arcade racer without the weapons, insane tracks or customisation you'd expect. The course concept is cool, but hasn't yet been used to its full potential, instead removing the challenge of corners or staying on the track without satisfactory skill or entertainment replacements. Compare to something as easily accessible, immediately fun and never dull as BlazeRush, now a common sight at my local LANs.
In the rocky wilds of Early Access, Radial-G is a solid base to build upon rather than a bugged-out mess, and that might be something to pay attention to. It's not a stunner now, but it may well be with more tracks, more cars, more options and a larger online community. It also feels like something that will have new life once you really know the courses and how to take the best route between boosters and when to sacrifice safety for speed.
It's also VR enabled when played in first person, which you can see a bit of here:
Grab it on Early Access.