Paint the town red. Or green. Or...

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - REVIEW -

Trail­blaz­ers is pre­sented like Jet Set Ra­dio in hov­er­cars, com­plete with ul­tra-funky sound­track, char­ac­ter sound­bites over text di­a­logue that tells the daft story, and cel-shaded cars rac­ing around larger-than-life race­tracks. At the core of the colour­ful pre­sen­ta­tion is the game’s big gim­mick: the cars lay paint on the track. Drive over your colour and you’ll go faster; chain boosts and you can in­crease your top speed tem­po­rar­ily. So if you and your team can get an un­bro­ken line of colour around the whole track, you can lit­er­ally boost all the way to the end.

Un­for­tu­nately, this core me­chanic doesn’t quite ful­fil its po­ten­tial for three rea­sons. First, colour only speeds you up – there’s no penalty for driv­ing on a ri­val colour, which halves the tac­ti­cal game­play. Sec­ond, if you choose to lay paint, you lose your boost chain. If you’re be­hind, you need to lay paint to get boost, but do­ing so means you fall even fur­ther be­hind. As a re­sult, who­ever is in front nor­mally stays there, which is frus­trat­ing. 1 And third, the only at­tack is a line of paint straight ahead of you, which will put ri­vals into a spin. No big splashes, no paint-steal­ing, no power-ups to turn en­tire swathes of colour in your favour.

Gim­mick aside, the han­dling and track de­sign don’t of­fer enough scope for skil­ful driv­ing to keep you riv­eted, and the fram­er­ate is in­con­sis­tent2 on a stan­dard PS4, mak­ing for a scrappy ex­pe­ri­ence.

There’s po­ten­tial here for a dev­il­ishly tac­ti­cal racer, but the re­al­ity is dull and un­bal­anced. And when the ul­tra­happy sound­track is pound­ing you with pos­i­tiv­ity, the mun­dane game­play stands out even more. Justin Tow­ell

FOOTNOTES1 Un­less it’s you that’s in front, of course. In that case it’s a chain-boost­ing breeze. 2 Strangely, play­ing in split-screen – which works on­line too – is a smoother ex­pe­ri­ence.



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