Trail Out is an indie racer, modelled on the reckless racing and destruction of games like Burnout, making it an entertaining game to review. Running on Unreal Engine it has decent graphics and performance, even when there’s a litany of exploding cars and objects.
The game feels like the developers enjoyed making it, and this translates to a fun time even if it isn’t the most polished of games. There are rough edges to be sure, but Trail Out is a bombastic and enjoyable racer with a whole heap of destruction thrown in for good measure.
Trail Out is available on Steam for $19.99.
The Story – A Rise to the Top
Trail Out doesn’t have the most complex and lengthy story to review. However, it does have a running narrative that pops up occasionally. You play as Mihalych, a stuntman turned racer, competing in the Trail Out competition. This competition is essentially suicide by car. Outside the straight up car fight derbies, ramming is encouraged and some races including bizarre twists such as an AC130 destroying the slowest car.
You must rise to the top of the blacklist by earning the medals and fans to challenge the bosses. After each boss fight, consisting of a race then derby, you get treated to an odd cutscene. The animation isn’t great in the cutscenes, the acting is stilted, and I can’t for the life of me figure out the accents (which are all the same regardless of the character’s nationality). Honestly, I loved it, but in a so bad it’s good way.
The added twist on your rise to the top is that you seem to have been there before. Mihalych survived an accident that left him with amnesia, and everyone seems content with leaving him in the dark. The story is basic and not exactly compelling, but it’s got a level of charm to it. Regardless it’s not the focus of the game.
Gameplay – Cars, Carnage and Crashes
There’s a lot of game modes to review in Trail Out, so below are the broad sections they fall under. You can choose any type in free races, or in the story you have a series of shorter competitions with a mix. It’s nice to have a variety of game modes, and each one has little variations and creative changes that keep the formula alive. You have races, derbies and arcade modes. The higher you finish the more money you get, and the more destructive you are, the more fans you get. Fans allow you to unlock new cars and upgrades, as well as advancing the story.
The races are by far the best game mode and the stand out part of this Trail Out review. There are a couple variations on the basic race. As mentioned, there is the elimination mode, with the car in last placed being destroyed every 30 or so seconds. There are also races where you all drive the same car, sometimes fast ones, sometimes it’s a truck or golf buggy. Even the standard races have their own gimmicks. A lot of the tracks will have sections that cross over each other, causing mayhem as you can get t-boned by other drivers.
The ridiculous mayhem means you can go from first to last, or vice versa very quickly. It’s a great arcade style game that controls smoothly. Whilst not particularly challenging, this is because it encourages you to have fun and be violent. It’s not cheating to slam someone into a wall or cause them to hit a train.
The second most common game mode in Trail Out is the derby. This is a straight up smashathon. You and your competitors are in a ring, and you need to earn points by launching your car into your opponents. There are a few additions in some of the derbies. For example, there’s one with a wrecking ball in the middle. It’s pretty fun but feels a bit like filler. It’s essentially the same game every time which is a nice break up from the races, but ultimately, it’s not that engaging, at least in single player.
Arcade Game Modes
Much like games like Burnout, there are alternative game modes that focus on crashing the best you can. There are Darts and Bowling modes that have you launch yourself out the front windshield and act as the dart or ball. I really enjoy silly modes like these, the only downside is that there aren’t more of them.
There is also no time mode, which is basically a time trail down a difficult track in a specific car. The other alternate mode is Hunter. In this game you job is to destroy as many opponents’ cars as possible within a time limit as they race around the track. This mode turns in to total carnage. These additional ways to play are a nice addition to Trail Out, it’s just a shame there isn’t more of them.
The Cars and Tracks
There’s a total of 40 cars to choose from. They’re put into tiers A, B and C, which you will need to unlock as you progress through the festival. The variety is nice, with speed and acceleration needing to be balanced with durability so you can still hit your opponents without being too slow. You unlock each car as a wreck and must add the various body parts to get it functional. There is a level of customisation, but it’s fairly minimal. It really boils down to a choice of 3 parts for each section. Your engine can be stock, improved or turbocharged for example. A little more customisation would go a long way, but it’s not desperately needed.
The last aspect to comment on for review is the tracks of Trail Out. Again the issue comes down to variety. The tracks are great. Each one is a blast to drive down, either through chaining the corners and having a smooth ride, or from epic explosions. Each one is littered with destructible objects and explosives that can make or break your race. However you’ll often race the same tracks. There are variations and changes as you make your way through the championship, but it verges on getting a little too repetitive
Graphics and Audio – Slick Visuals and Strong Sound
When it comes to the cars and tracks the graphics are pretty decent. It looks really good for an indie game. The tracks look wonderful with a strong use of colour to the designs. It’s not quite hyper realistic, but it’s far from cartoony. The cars are designed well, with the damage they take being dynamic and effective depending on how you get hit.
The tracks as well look great, although the water is a bit off. The destruction is well executed, with a lot of the buildings and objects being breakable, and exploding across the track. It feels like you’re in a Fast and Furious movie. There’s often a lot going on onscreen, but I only had frame rate drops a couple times over hours of play. I was impressed with the visuals overall.
The audio is another high point for me to review for Trail Out. Beyond the bizarre voice acting, the sounds of the engines and crashes are realistic. The sound of the race is often drowned out by the soundtrack. It’s a matter of taste as it’s all alt-rock. But for me it slapped hard and supplements the eccentric racing with a motivating song in the background. It was a highlight, although they could use a bit more variation, as there’s not a huge track list.
Trail Out was reviewed on Steam with a review code provided by Crytivo.