Coffin Dodgers shows up on Xbox One. What could have been a very lively racing experience turns out to be DOA.
Game – Coffin Dodgers
Platform – Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer/Publisher – Milky Tea Studios
Release date – May 6, 2016 (Xbox One)
Price – $11.99
Rectify Gaming has had our eyes peeled since it was announced that Coffin Dodgers was coming to Xbox One. The game has a great concept. It’s a simple Kart racing game complete with in-game pickups, weapons, and boosters. It starts off with a humorous premise, too. A group of old people are forced to race against each other in order to escape the clutches of the grim reaper himself. The story mode pushes the player to outlast the other old fogies in a series of elimination style races. The racer in lastplace is claimed by the grim reaper, and put comically six-feet deep. The racers then return as the undead, and work for the grim reaper in order to skew the race results. This is where Coffin Dodgers starts going downhill.
There is so much more wrong with Coffin Dodgers than there are things that go right. Playing against the AI typically results in insurmountable situations. The player shoots out ahead or falls infinitely behind, and there’s not much of an exciting medium. The only excitement really happens within the first 30 seconds of the race where the player establishes how the rest of the race will transpire (shooting ahead or falling behind). This is a game best played with others, if you can find 1+ other people to invest in a run-of-the-mill kart racing game.
There are weapon pickups, and a melee attack, that makes blacktop confrontations and lead changes more exciting. However, beyond that 30 second period where the characters are clustered, it’s pretty stale. Coffin Dodgers seems to rely heavily on real-life scenarios: last place can’t really ever catch up to first place. The problem is that the game is comical in every other aspect, and kart games that play like Forza just aren’t fun. This is very much an over exaggeration (Forza handles well), but there were only a handful of instances where the race ended neck-and-neck, and that’s what typically makes kart racing so much fun.
The game, too, glitches at times, and there are a number of ‘invisible’ corners that make the precision racing necessary to catch up to 1st place nearly impossible. Please be aware: the difficulty of the game is super novice. This leads into another problem with Coffin Dodgers. It can’t seem to find its identity. If a 5 year old races (tested), they fail miserably. If an adult races, they win with ease. The game is too technical for the younger gamers, and too simplistic for the older gamers. It leaves everyone bored one way or the other.
Another missed opportunity is in the 2nd playthrough. Once the game is beaten, the player unlocks the Grim Reaper as a racer. Nothing significantly changes except for the end cinematic, and it wasn’t compelling by any means. All of the funny Grim Reaper taunts are still on the post-game player screen as if there’s still a third party grim reaper. It seems like an afterthought, and there could have at least been an additional layer of comedy on the second playthrough.
If there are any gamers out there that don’t mind the mindless racing, and just need a break from competing in any way, Coffin Dodgers still has a clever upgrade system. For example, make the melee weapon stronger, the car faster, and increase the kart’s acceleration. The changes are also represented on the racer, which is an added bonus.
The animation fits the sophomoric humor and style (in a good way) and the artwork is kart racing kartoony. Even the music is very well scored. Other gameplay modes like Time Trial and Versus mode are included outside of the main story campaign. There’s also a free-world game that requires the player to chase down random objects throughout the entire city map. Outside of some ‘invisible’ walls, and the infuriating inability to U-turn when turned around, Coffin Dodgers is still the smart car of kart racing games: it’s short, ugly, and nobody has fun behind the wheel.
Coffin Dodgers isn’t the worst game I’ve ever played. It has the foundation of being fun, and gamers that have lower standards, or who are looking for a game to play with the kiddies, will still find fun in it. Otherwise, feel free to drive on by this Xbox One arcade title. The review here is taking into consideration the small target audience for the title: family-gaming. It’s what saves the title from a bigger, fatter F grade.
Play if you have a youngin’ and you’re looking for something on Xbox One. Otherwise, avoid this title like the black plague of death.