[Note from Cyber: this Grip hands-on was submitted by one of our readers, Ike F., and so a big thanks to him for taking the to write this up and provide some gameplay footage!]
As a racing fan it feels like racing games have been left in the dust. There is a lack of fresh and exciting racing experiences for the average gamer, and that is a frustrating situation for those who enjoy the thrill of a fast, adrenaline pumped, punishing racing game. Well lucky for us, Grip is right around the corner and delivers on all of those things.
Grip from Caged Element is set in a futuristic speed driven universe where racing is everything. Constant innovations in vehicle design have led to the creation of a car with wheels so massive that if the car flips over it can keep moving. Being able to drive on both sides adds a new dynamic to racing that totally changes the way that you approach the game. As simple of an idea as it is, it allows for some absolutely amazing gameplay with race tracks that no other regular racing game could create. Driving on walls, inside cylindrical tunnels, destroying bridges and obstacles, and barrel rolling off massive jumps at breakneck speeds of 400-700 km/h is incredibly satisfying. Oh, and did I also mention there are weapons? Optional of course but they are a major element within the game.
At the moment there are four different game modes: Race, Time Trial, Arena (fight to be the last alive), and Playground (pretty much an obstacle course). All of these modes offer a different way of playing the game (yes, even Time Trial). There is currently no multiplayer in the pre-alpha early access but i is planned for later stages of testing. I can only imagine that fun and chaos that will ensue and I am very much looking forward to the multiplayer aspect.
Drawing inspirations from the Playstation 1 games Rollcage 1 & 2, a few developers that were actually a part of the original Rollcage development team decided to create a modernized version of the game. While the game currently has a relatively small following, an early access public pre-alpha was recently made available on Steam that has garnered a lot more attention. At the time of me writing this the game has 262 positive reviews out of 273 total, and so I think it is fair to say that most of those playing are enjoying the game thus far. Being in pre-alpha you can expect a fair amount of bugs and issues with the game, but having played the game for 30 hours I can say that the common bugs in game are far from game breaking.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Grip. Driving at such high speeds helps the game feel climactic and kept me engaged every second in game. The power ups feel very impactful and effective except for the missiles as they semi-frequently hit objects on the map and blow up on their way to their intended targets. I especially enjoye using the boost power up as it makes you move pretty darn fast (and I do mean really fast) and can help you cover a lot of ground if you can manage to keep control of your vehicle. That being said there is currently only one vehicle available in the pre-alpha with multiple skins. That is a bit disappointing but easily overlooked as all the matches come down to skill on the tracks and proper use of power ups. Visually the game is very appealing. Grip truly looks like it’s own world with unique environments created through the sky boxes and abstract structures.
Grip does an astounding job at creating a real sense of speed, comparable to that of Burnout Paradise. The game has a lot of potential and with the veteran developers of the Rollcage team manning the wheel you can expect a lot more crazy, adrenaline fueled modes and tracks in the future. Grip’s gameplay is solid although it does lack content and consistency, but those are things that will improve with time. If you are looking for a complete racing experience it might be better to wait for Grip’s full release, but if you just want to go really fast and destroy your opponents while doing it, Grip is definitely worth checking out.