Trailblazers (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Flynnie 21.11.2018

Review for Trailblazers on Nintendo Switch

On the face of it, Trailblazers can be considered quite an enigmatic racing title that blends inspiration of various concepts, visuals and audio cues from numerous titles. With this mesh of ideas can it set itself on a path to success or do the wheels come off? Trailblazers launched in May 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, and Steam with the Nintendo Switch version being a little late to the party by releasing in November 2018. The concept could be best described as blending Splatoon's ink trails with the racing style of F-Zero, and a graphical art style that falls somewhere between Jet Set Radio and Sunset Overdrive.

Simply put, each hover car in Trailblazers is equipped with the ability to paint the track in its very own unique colour and, in turn, when driven over, gives the racer a speed boost. Alternatively, ink can be used offensively as a weapon to help slow down the driver in front by temporarily spinning them out. The race starts with no ink on track but by the final lap there is a mish-mash of colours laid down, creating unique driving lines for players to take.

Unlike other racing titles, the aim is not necessarily about winning races but also earning accolades for meeting certain conditions, including attacking opponents, laying more paint down over competitors, or timed performance within the race. Different layers of strategy depend on whether races are being played in teams or solo, but ultimately painting the track in the earlier laps of the contest will help deliver a blazing trail for the final laps, which can reach hair-raising speeds akin to F-Zero.

Screenshot for Trailblazers on Nintendo Switch

This is incredibly awesome as it means that not one race is the same, creating unique experiences on the same tracks. Unfortunately, collision physics can be of annoyance at times as crashes can result in players being turned around or frustratingly stuck rubbing up against enemy cars while spun around facing the incorrect direction. This is significant as there are instances of 'rubber-banding' that can make the AI impossible to catch unless a well-executed 'trail' becomes available.

Nintendo Switch owners are fortunate enough to have all end-game content unlocked from the get-go. Furthermore, there is an additional exclusive character to the already eight-person roster. Each character has different attributes, including handling, boost speed, how much ink they can lay down in one go (before having to recharge), but these feel rather unbalanced as some characters benefit more than others. The eclectic mix of characters are well designed but stuck behind their own unique vehicle, which is slightly disappointing to not be able to customise drivers, their cars or ink colour, akin to what newer Mario Kart titles allow. Fortunately, the 10 tracks can be customised to help increase the number of courses with each having the option to be played forwards, backwards, mirrored, and mirrored reverse. Some of these options are far better than others, with winding loops and well positioned straights to gather speed, although, on the flip side, there are some tricky corners that perhaps can be unfair to navigate through at times.

Screenshot for Trailblazers on Nintendo Switch

The campaign mode is 25 chapters long, each with its own varying set of missions to accomplish. It also serves as an introduction to each character by forcing missions to be completed by a different member of the ensemble. The mission variance is welcome and allows different strategies to be adopted, while also being familiarised with the in-game mechanics. Cup mode has racers duking it out on either three or four courses at a time, with the end goal to finish with the most points possible, although the winner isn't made abundantly clear at the end of the race. The player could actually be left oblivious to who has won without actually proceeding to the specific race results screen where boost, paint, and skill points are totalled up to award a total team winner.

Even with these sets of results, there seems to be no repercussions or subsequent consequences from the preceding race, which results in the mode feeling ever so slightly disjointed and somewhat pointless. Luckily, multiplayer shines with single Joy-Con play with up to four players locally, which is perfect for tactics and strategies to be deployed and have a meaningful impact.

Screenshot for Trailblazers on Nintendo Switch

Trailblazers is at its best when played with friends just because of the co-operation that is needed to topple the other team's racing line; therefore, those lagging in last place can affect the race for the leader by leaving trails of paint for them. Trailblazers astonishingly offers cross-platform online play, as well, although it doesn't state what platforms it is compatible with. Nonetheless, the races go off without a hitch.

The extra time in the oven for the Nintendo Switch version has evidently served Trailblazers well, as there aren't many performance issues or graphical downgrades to have to compromise on. There are times where minor slow down on particular tracks is present, but not so much to the point where it affects enjoyment. The visual art style is a blend of Jet Set Radio and Sunset Overdrive, with distinctive character designs and colourful environments. The homage to Jet Set Radio doesn't quite stop there, as the funky and sublime soundtrack is somewhat reminiscent of the Dreamcast classic but not to the point of ripping it off entirely.

Screenshot for Trailblazers on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Trailblazers successfully sets itself apart from others in the same genre, especially as the Nintendo Switch marketplace is full of crazy racing games. While it is evident that the soundtrack and art style are somewhat borrowed, they have been churned into a product that is new, refreshing and unique, blazing itself a trail all of its own.

Developer

Supergonk

Publisher

Rising Star Games

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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