The good people at Gaia Industries were nice enough to give me a private look at their upcoming game, Street Trace: NYC (including schooling me in some multiplayer, thanks Damon!). The result of that sneak peak will be found here at XBLArcade.com in my 3-part preview. Enjoy!
You have to suspend your immediate confusion when I explain the mashup (I swear everyone is doing the mashup these days) that is Street Trace: NYC. It's a hoverboard game with guns. There, I said it. And, I have to be honest -- when I first saw this game at DigitalLife in NYC, I was a little baffled by the concept. Maybe part of the problem then was that it was surrounded by games I was already interested in: Mutant Storm Empires, Lumines Live, Small Arms, and many more. Street Trace: NYC seemed like the bastard child of the XBLA family. But now, after playing it, I think this game has a legimate chance. (See what I did there, nudge nudge)
Hit the jump and I will break the gameplay down a bit to help give you a better feel.
The learning curve for Street Trace: NYC feels a bit steep at first so avoid trying to learn everything at once (unless you are just awesome that way). I break the controls down into basic movement controls, advanced movement controls, and weapon controls.
The left stick controls your board. Move it left and right to turn. Move the stick up to point the nose of your hoverboard down and move it down to point the nose up (in other words, inverted). Hold X to stop your hoverboard. Press A to jump. Press B to use your speed boost.
Press (and hold) Y while near a grindable object to grind along it. Tapping (or holding) X while in a turn can help you turn more sharply, but it slows you down.
The top four buttons are each mapped to a part of your weapon (And boy, your lone gun can do a lot!). The triggers handle the bigger guns and the bumper buttons handle the more specialized weapons.
You can see how the long range weapons are on the right side and the short range weapons are on the left. Choosing the correct weapon for each situation will make or break you in this game. For instance, Stampedes are deadly at close range, but useless when being pegged by someone's Pulse weapon from across the arena.
Now all of the speed and weaponry in the game is powered by "Juice". There are two different types of juice to pick up: Blue and Orange. Blue juice adds to your boost gauge (think nitro) and orange juice adds to your weapon gauge (think ammo).
Pick up the $ symbols for (what a shock) cash, which can be spent between tournament events for upgrading your board and weapons.
These give you a temporary or permanent upgrade (depending on the gametype) to your board or weapons.
Just like you would imagine, these could give you anything -- including a power drain. But, if you are losing a race question marks have a higher chance of giving you something good which turns them into great equalizers.
Once you get the hang of moving around and then using all the different weapons (doing the tutorial is strongly encouraged) you will finally get to jump into some single or multiplayer games. I will cover single and multiplayer in more detail in an upcoming post. Of course the whole game is wrapped up with some slick cel-shading, 6 maps (3 street maps and 3 Arena maps), and tons of gametypes and tournaments. Sometimes the focus is racing, sometimes it's blowing up your opponents, sometimes it's collecting items while trying to not get blown up yourself, and sometimes it's all of those at the same time.
David Jaffe recently said (while complaining about review scores) that all he wanted to create in his upcoming Playstation Network game, Calling All Cars, was "a trash talking fun a** time with your buddies." That quote describes Street Trace: NYC very well. This game does not push the boundaries of games as a medium because it never tries to do that. What does this game do? It creates rivalry, teeth gritting (in a good way), and focused competition (Locally and over Xbox Live). It may not touch your soul but it should be a ton of trash-talking fun in a small (and cheap!) package.
More Street Trace: NYC preview posts are on their way detailing Single Player and Multiplayer, so stay tuned!