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Est. April 2016. III Version 2.0. III

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TRAILBLAZERS
A dash of colourful creativity.

REVIEW
By JAY TEE
11/05/18

If you’re the ‘judge a book by its cover’ type, Trailblazers could be easily pigeonholed as a technicolor F-Zero wannabe, with a dash of Splatoon mechanics for good measure. Spend more than five minutes with the game and Supergonk’s arcade racer actually has more in common with the likes of Cel Damage. There’s a delicate balance of anarchy and teamplay here that evokes Pseudo Interactive’s car combat classic.

The whole thing feels acerbic and cheeky, from the cheerful, infectious soundtrack, right through to the exaggerated character designs and ‘Banjo Kazooie’ style grunts for speech. Even the writing in the story mode has a comedic edge, and although hardly laugh out loud funny, the ‘tongue in cheek’ approach is an immediate win.

The track painting mechanic forces you to constantly read and react as your ideal route changes each lap, and the risk/reward combo system adds stakes to an already exciting game. Supergonk have made something truly impactful.

THE BASICS - High octane arcade racer, with a unique track painting mechanic that allows friendly players to boost their top speed.  

PLATFORMS - PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

PLAYERS - Offline - 4, Online - 6

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - Split screen and online. A.I. racers can be added to either mode.
 
DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - None currently announced.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our reviews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.

REVIEWS KEY:

The Look - Art style, graphics, and overall presentation.

The Feel - Mechanics, controls, and learning curve.

The Sound - Music, sound effects, and dialogue.

The Experience - Anecdotes and random thoughts.

When you manage to maintain a consistent boost, and level it up to max speed, it’s quite something... Good luck on those sharper corners!

LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS ARTICLE!
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, TWEET US @JAYTEE_GA, OR E-MAIL: EDITOR@JTGA.CO.UK.

The LONE WOLF badge tells you that a particular game can only be played, or is more enjoyable, when
you’re flying solo.

The DEEP DIVE badge is a heads up that what you’re about to play is a huge undertaking, and best enjoyed in extended periods.

The KITCHEN SINK badge is an indication of a game that is
bursting at the seams with content (either on disc or DLC).

The BAM! DONE! badge lets you know that within minutes of picking up the controller, you can play this like a pro.

The HOT POTATO badge makes a really clear statement: this
game is making waves and you should get on board.

The LEARNING CURVE badge is awarded if you’ll need to allow a fair bit of time in
order to fully
grasp the controls.

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2

3

4

5

FINAL SCORE:

The SCEPTICAL FACE badge is for when a game doesn’t leave a strong first impression. Perhaps more
time is needed to decide?

The LEFT FIELD badge is awarded when a game surprises us by being really good and it hadn’t previously been on our radar.

The HMM… FIREWORKS badge is earned when a game features excellent particle, lighting, or atmospheric effects.

The BARREL OF LAUGHS badge is for when a game boasts a keen, sharp wit and several laugh out loud moments.

The BIG STINKER badge is awarded when a huge AAA budget title turns out to be a letdown that leaves us feeling cold.  

The BOOTS ON THE GROUND badge is for a game you need to play as soon as possible. Don’t leave this one for your backlog!

The SMALL FRY badge is for a title from a smaller development team that is absolutely worth your time and should not be ignored.

The SLICK RICK badge is earned when most of the overall audio design is crisp and well defined.

The CAPTAIN KEYES badge is for a game that has well written characters that leave a lasting impression.

The LAME WAD badge is used in the event a game has particularly bad dialogue or cheesy voice acting that distracts from the story.    

The RE-TARP badge is earned when a game presents more of the same. It’s up to you to decide whether that’s good or bad.

The HOMEBOY badge is for the kind of game that is perfect for playing at home, AND when you’re on the go.  

The MILO & KATE badge is for a game that we don’t think will look the same from reveal to release, or perhaps even see the light of day…  

The MIS-TARPED badge is for a game that’s supposed to represent one genre, but turns into something else.

The IT’S A TARP! badge is awarded when a game offers a real challenge.

The BREACH ON ZULU badge is awarded for a game that consistently demands intelligent strategy / tactics.

The TRANSPORTER BUFFER badge is for a game that requires you to carefully manage your inventory and supplies.

The JUST ONE MINUTE MAN badge is for a game that keeps making you come back for just one more go.

The TOO MANY TARPS badge is awarded when a game has a lot of content, but no real substance or depth.

The JUMPED THE TARP badge is for a game that has had one too many sequels, and should be radically rebooted or retired completely.

The PICK N’ MIX badge is awarded for a game that has a wide variety of things to do, or continually presents new mechanics / ideas.  

The SCRATCH THAT RASH badge is for a game you should take a risk on. You might love it!  

The HYPE-O-SPRAY badge is for a game that has, or may yet become, a victim of its own hype.

The 1, 2, DITCH badge is for a game that has been poorly explained and/or received a lot of bad press.

The BOOGEYMAN TWO badge is for a game with a collection of strong, varied enemies to face.

The WEAPON DROP badge is for a game that features superb weapon / item design.

The YOSHI’S EYELIDS badge is for a game where the facial animation leaves much to be desired…

The BREAK THE TARGETS badge is for a game that has excellent side quests and/or optional missions and activities.

The YAR! BEARS! badge is for a game that is played (or should be played) by Adam Burleigh.

The SHODDY CODDY badge is for a game that includes mechanics or controls that just don’t feel right.

The TROLLOLOL badge is for a game with sudden spikes in difficulty.

The WAGGLE YOUR LIPS badge is for a game with terrible pacing and/or too often takes control away from the player.

The KABOOM! badge is for a game that has excellent explosions (with Halo 1 frag grenades being the gold standard).

The PUMPKIN LOOK badge is for a game where the art style, graphics, and/or presentation are on top form.

The FALCO FEEL badge is earned when the gameplay mechanics, controls, and/or learning curve feel just right.

The POPPY SOUND badge is for a game where the music, sound effects, and/or dialogue are superb.

The POM POM EXPERIENCE badge is earned when a game produces numerous great anecdotes or stories.

The QUANTUM OF SOLACE badge is for a game that is played (or should be played) by Mike Hazleton.

The SARU’S GANGLIA badge is for a game that does a great job of visually immersing you in its world.

The FADING CIRCLE badge is for a game with extremely poor environmental interactivity and/or object physics.

The SCRIPT SUPERVISOR badge is for a game with incredibly quotable dialogue.

The BEVERLY badge is for a game that would make even Jean-Luc Picard want to spend time with Wesley.

The WII SPORTS badge is for a game that even non-gamers would recognise as being something truly special.

The BUFF TING badge is for a game that has an excessive number of patches, or requires a huge day 1 update.

The LEAVES ON THE LINE badge is for a game where awkwardly placed geometry and/or bad level design causes you to get unintentionally stuck.

The DISCO TECH badge is for a mini game compilation or party game that’s (perhaps surprisingly) really good!

The LOOT ON THE ROOT badge is for a game with lots of different collectibles, items, and other bits and pieces.

The ATOUBA badge is for a game that features a loveable character (or characters).

The IT WORKS SO WELL badge is for a game with characters you’re truly invested in.

The CLONE WARS badge is for a game with lots of repeated character models.

The JASON DUFNER badge is for a game with a limited choice of playable characters.

The CONGLOMERATE badge is for a game where characters frequently clip through surfaces.

The CLOONEY badge is for a game with outstanding character design.

The SKYPE RINGTONE badge is for a game with a catchy soundtrack that you can’t help but love.

The WAR-ROCK! badge is for a game that absolutely deserves ongoing player support.

The LAWBREAKERS badge is for a game that is unlikely to get long term player support.

The EPIC RESPAWN badge is for a game with superb post launch developer support.

The ROMULAJON badge is for a game that is played (or should be played) by
Jay Tee.

The BLEEDING EYES badge is for a game where bump mapping doesn’t happen as often as you might think…

PRINCE CHARMING - The entire game gives off ‘Disney / Pixar’ vibes, with immaculately sleek vehicles that, visually, favour form over function. Overall, it’s graphically impressive, and even though you spend most of your time staring at the track infront of you, Supergonk have clearly made an effort to populate the surrounding environments with pleasing flourishes of detail.

TRIP TUCKER - For the most part, Trailblazers runs well. We received a PC review code, so there has to be some consideration for different hardware set ups. However, when you level up your boost to max velocity, or introduce split screen play into the mix, the frame rate has a tendency to suffer. 90% of the time, it’s all good, but there’s still room for optimisation improvements.

ART ATTACK - The racer select menu is home to some genuinely fantastic character artwork.

Trailblazers is a lot of fun, with a core mechanic that sets it apart from other racers. The wealth of multiplayer options and colourful presentation makes it very easy to
recommend.

SAM FISHER - It’s super satisfying to deliberately tailgate an opponent and paint over their trail. Of course, the trade off is you can’t boost while doing this. But the balance is there, and it really works. Plus, if one of your team is on repainting duties, you can focus your attention on covering alternate routes on the track to maximise your speed for the next lap.

CHEEKY CHAP - The combo system punishes you for any missteps, including collision with the edges of the track, environmental obstacles, or other players. You will constantly be shifting your focus from increasing your top speed to negating another team’s racing line. The frontal attack is a great way of disrupting your foes, at the expense of your paint supply.

KILLZONE HEFT - You’ll feel the weight of every sharp turn or unexpected impact. Controller feedback is superb.

CRANK IT - The soundtrack is repetitive. An EA Sports title this most certainly is not. But while Trailblazers lacks a huge licensed selection of recognisable hits, the music fits the aesthetic of the game perfectly. Relentlessly upbeat, and pleasingly silly. It’s the perfect combo for a title that doesn’t try to take itself too seriously.

GRUNTILDA’S RHYME - There is a certain charm to the grunts and sound bites of the dialogue, but the lack of full voiceover support is disappointing. So much effort has gone into making the characters look distinct, so it’s a shame that a couple of actors weren’t drafted in to provide narration for the campaign.

OOOSH - The audio effect of your ever increasing boost combo is incredibly satisfying. Feel the need for speed!

TAKE THE THIRD PATH - There are plenty of alternate paths in most tracks, which allows you to settle in to your preferred racing line, or disrupt the chosen routes of other players. I did find myself getting caught out by sudden sharp turns, but liberal use of the drifting mechanic (which also adds to your total score) solves that problem.

CLASH OF THE TITANS - The paint attack mechanic is great fun, where you sacrifice your entire supply for a quick blast that can spin out other players in front of you. However, your reflexes will need to be on point, as crashing into another player can significantly mess you up, and I often found myself in a worse position.  

TICKING BOXES - Four player split screen, both local and online, with A.I., online matchmaking with friends, and crossplay. YES.

TARP BADGES:

Gameplay:

The PICK UP AND PLAY badge is for when a game is better suited to brief, impromptu sessions that give a quick blast of escapism.

The SLIM PICKINGS badge is for a game that is lacking in content.

The PRINCE OF PERSIA POT badge is for a game with glitches too hilarious to be angry about.

The ARENA LAMP badge is for a game with a weapon that is far too overpowered.  

The MAG WRIST badge is for a game where the controls are needlessly complicated.

The CHALLENGE ME BRAIN PUZZLES! badge is for a game that is tricky, but rewarding, to master.

The KILLSTEAK badge is for a game where
wins / kills are really satisfying.

The TEA OF SIEVES badge is for a game with truly emergent moments.

The EMILIO ESTEVEZ badge is for a game with randomly generated content.

The MAYORAL ELECTION badge is for a game filled with high pressure moments that put your skills to the test.  

The SPECIAL DELIVERY badge is for a game with lots of optional content, like audio logs, letters to read, and / or environmental storytelling.

The I’LL BET badge is for a game with really cool vehicles. I’ve been itching to try the Argo.

The BOND THEME badge is for a game that makes you feel like a badass.

The ANDREX DOG badge is for a game with a memorable AI companion.

The CITY 17 badge is for a game with an outstanding opening level.

The ALPHA SITE badge is for a game with an excellent PvE or Horde mode.

Audio:

Graphics:

The ORCHESTRAL SCORE badge is for a game that deserves this specific praise: "This game has a great orchestral score".

The OOBLEH! badge is for a game that has a dodgy or inconsistent framerate.

The DIGITAL FOUNDRAJON badge is for a game that pushes technical boundaries with cutting edge presentation.

The FRAMERATE VIAGRA badge is for a game with mostly solid performance, but has occasional dips or stuttering.

The CRASHBREAKER badge is for a game that is really unstable or has persistent performance issues.

The PHOLIAGE PHYSICS badge is  for a game with excellent foliage physics.

Longevity:

Multiplayer:

The NOOB COMBO badge is for a game that lacks balance in multiplayer.

The SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES badge is for a game that unnecessarily restricts co-op and/or multiplayer.

The SEA OF THIEVES badge is for a co-op game that is truly memorable.

The ON ME! JONESY! badge is earned when getting into a multiplayer game takes hardly any time.

The LOBBY LAG badge is for when the multiplayer side of things is lacking features, and/or runs very poorly.

The COUCH MADNESS badge is awarded when a game nails split/same screen gameplay.

The BEST WITH FRIENDS badge is earned if a game is significantly more fun playing with people you know, either in campaign or online.

The JOHNNY FIVE HOLE badge is earned for a game where you are likely to get destroyed in multiplayer if you're new to it.  

The SAVE MY BACON badge is earned for a game that lets you revive your co-op and / or multiplayer team mates.   

The CAPTAIN JONWAY badge is earned for a game that lets you party up / invite friends into online matchmaking so you can play together.   

The WILL MIKER badge is for a game that lets you play locally with your friends against A.I.    

The POO MEDIC badge is for a game with class based multiplayer.  

The DOME badge is for a multiplayer game with small to medium sized maps / courses / levels.

 

The ARCHER’S EXPANSE badge is for a game with massive multiplayer maps / courses / levels.

 

The BEN HOLE badge is for a game with low quality multiplayer maps / courses / levels.

The NABOO badge is for a game with multiplayer maps that feel too big, or it takes too long to get to the action.

The PAMELA badge is for a game that requires good communication in multiplayer to be consistently successful.

Presentation:

The OOKLA badge is for a game with inconsistent server performance and/or frequent lag.

The JACK CARVER badge is for a game with stereotypical or unimaginative characters.

The RANDO CALRISSIAN badge is for a game that allows you to randomly cycle your character's appearance or attributes.


The CROSSING THE LINE badge is for a game that pushes the boundaries and / or takes risks.


The REFELLIAN’S GLOVE badge is for a game that lets you customise your character.

The LEDGE BUCKET badge is for a game where the U.I and / or menus have been really well designed.

The OPTIONAL HUFFMAN badge is for a game with confusing settings or options.

Thumbs Up:

Thumbs Down:

The SHOVELWARE badge is for something that feels rushed, or launches without key features that would have made a big difference.

The DEALBREAKER badge is for a game where one or two crucial mis-steps is enough to put you off.

The TEARS OF BORE badge is for a series that just needs a break. Please. Just stop.

The BEN’S PISS CUP badge is for inexcusably lazy game design that both confuses and infuriates.

The MOLYNEUX’S LIES badge is for a game which fails to deliver on basic promised features.

The ROLL THE DICE badge is for a game surrounded by easily avoidable controversy.

The THEY’VE FU**ED IT badge is for a game that really should have been so much better…

The TEN DAY RETURNS badge is for a game so disappointing you wish you could get your money back.

The WE GOT BORED badge is for a developer who didn't make the game everyone wanted them to make.

The MAG DRAWER badge is for a game that belongs in the MAG drawer.

The MEDIUM RARE badge is for a game that could have done with a few more months in the oven.

The WATER WASTE badge is for a game that is a perfect example of wasted potential.

The FRUGAL CHRISTMAS badge is for a game that is really overpriced.


The OUT THE BINDOW badge is for a game you should put in the bin AND throw out the window.

Recommended:

Random:

The BIN GRIFFIN badge is for a game that even Ben Griffin would put in the bin.

The DIVORCE badge is for a game that might cause the breakdown of your marriage.

The PUMPKIN’S CLAW badge is for a game that enrages you, but you still love it.

The TGSN badge is for a game that's seemingly held together with Blue Peter's sticky backed plastic.

The SIMPSONS ROAD RAGE badge is for a game that's better than Simpsons Road Rage.