Eggcelerate! and it’s Winter Expansion is a new indie racing game on Steam developed by Tim Beaudet and published by Tyre Bytes LLC. This is a bit of a special review for me, as it’s the first one where a developer asked me personally to review it! Shame I didn’t like it very much, but keep in mind that the indie game market isn’t what it used to be, and it’s still early days. In a few months, Eggcelerate! could be a completely different game. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again.
At time of writing, however, Eggcelerate! is an odd duck. The lack of a story isn’t so strange, but the entire game feels like a challenge mode for a much larger title. It feels a bit gimmicky at times, but you can tell there was real creative effort put into it. I ended up being down on the game, for reasons you’re about to see. Still, I think with some modifications, a patch or three, and possibly a change of platform, Eggcelerate! could really make headlines. For now, though, let’s see why I wasn’t very sunny side up on this eggy affair.
Eggcelerate! is available on Steam for $7.99 right now, and the Winter Expansion is available for $7.99 as well.
GAMEPLAY – ALL EGGS IN ONE BASKET
Eggcelerate! has pretty decent gameplay all round. It’s tempting to just leave it at that and move on, but that isn’t the end of it. Basically, you have to race around a track carrying a small egg on top of your car in a basket. The goal is to get to the end of the track without breaking the egg, hopefully within the set time limit. It’s simple, but in one of those easy-to-learn, hard-to-master kind of ways. Rather than having one very long gameplay section, however, I thought it would be more productive to talk about the good and bad points separately. Excuse the pun, but let’s get this show on the road!
THE GOOD EGGS
Let’s start positive. I like how the driving feels in Eggcelerate! It’s not necessarily the smoothest ride, but that’s the point. It has to feel like you’re piloting a shopping trolley with three broken wheels, or there wouldn’t be a challenge. Even so, it doesn’t feel like the controls are fighting you. There weren’t a lot of times in the game when I could blame the controls for my egg breaking, and that’s a definite positive! I also like how restart is bound to a button, and happens instantly. The game is quick to get into, and mistakes are easy to recover from.
The DLC, unfortunately, doesn’t add a ton to the experience, but it works. You probably could have guessed, but the 30 new levels in the Winter Expansion are all ice themed. That means slippery roads folks! I expected it to be kind of disappointing, but I was pleasantly surprised with how it worked. The obstacles themselves are all nicely varied. Loads of creative devices to smash, pull, push or otherwise wreck your car. My favourite was a few levels in, when the camera twisted in the opposite direction of how I turned my car. That was creative and fun, good job!
THE BAD EGGS
Unfortunately, as I’m sure you could tell from the score, there’s a tad more to say here. The big issue I have with Eggcelerate! is that a lot of the time, it feels more like trial-and-error than a challenge. The 3-D graphics and camera angle often put me in a position where I couldn’t see the next obstacle, or the one after that. It makes some of the obstacles feel more like tricks than challenges, things I couldn’t possibly have planned for. Eventually I just memorised the track and kept throwing myself at it, which may have been the point.
The next issue is one of incentive. I found that there wasn’t really any reason to beat the best time in this time trial game. Now, look, this could just be a personal thing. I know loads of people play these kinds of games just to get on the leaderboard, but that isn’t really enough for me. There needs to be some sort of reward, like a power-up for the next level, or a penalty, like having to start the track over. I briefly thought I was earning new cars, but that only occurred because I unchecked the random car option in the settings and noticed some cars were still locked.
But let’s talk about why new cars isn’t a good incentive in this game. Simply put, I have no idea why they would be a reward. KungFu Kickball had this problem too, where I get “rewarded” with a new character and get zero information about them. You have to tell me I got a new car, maybe with a small pop-up, just so I understand that’s what I’m competing for. Then, you have to tell me why it’s cool. Is the new car faster? Is it heavier, meaning the egg won’t bounce as much? Why should I care if I unlocked a van?
While I was playing Eggcelerate! I realised something. This feels like a phone game! And if it was a phone game, I probably would’ve been a lot kinder to it. But that wasn’t a productive use of brainpower, so instead, I came up with some suggestions that I thought would help Eggcelerate! fit into the PC market a bit better. As a small disclaimer, these are only suggestions and I am not a game developer. I have no idea what would need to go into making these happen, but I will try and keep them reasonable.
First off, challenge modes. One of the problems with Eggcelerate! is that it can kind of feel one-note. Something like a survival mode with an endless track, or a mode where you try to launch your egg as far as you can, could really add some variety to the experience. Second off, proper incentives. I mentioned this before, but come up with something that makes me want to finish a track faster! Like, if I beat the “goal time” I get a shield that protects my egg from bouncing once. Or, on the other hand, if I don’t beat the time, maybe a debuff? Like all of my tires are flat, so my car slides more.
AUDIO AND VISUALS – OVER EASY ON THE EYES, SCRAMBLED MY EARS
Cheeky confession time, I mostly played Eggcelerate! with the sound off. The sound effects themselves are harmless, a little reedy for car engines, but they fit the theme. What drove me over the edge, however, was the fact that this game has approximately two songs. One for the base game, and another slightly jauntier version for DLC. That’s just not enough. I know making songs is hard work, and commissioning them is expensive, but if you don’t have more then playing your game starts to feel like spending an afternoon in a bank elevator.
Back to the positives, I enjoyed the visual style of Eggcelerate! a lot. I’ve always been a sucker for that smooth, polygonal style. And, I like the little touches. The left over splattered eggs from previous attempts can serve as a nice little warning, and if they’re cluttering the world too much, it takes five seconds to quit to the title and start the level again. Your car also shoots up little smoke clouds behind it, and the cool thing is, they change colour based on the terrain! It’s small, but it does add a bit of charm to the experience.
Eggcelerate! was reviewed on PC and a code was provided by Tyre Bytes.