There’s not many cartoon racers around on the next-gen systems, and while it’s been a while we’ve seen Mario, Sonic and Donkey Kong each head their own fan favorite, this time it’s down to the pensioners.
The retirement village of Sunny Pines has a new visitor and after the grim reaper paid 7 pensioners a visit they got together and challenged the reaper to a mobility scooter race to the death. It all sounds like a decent enough storyline, but sadly there’s very little personality given to the individual characters, so I couldn’t have given two hoots when I saw the gravestone of Jeremiah after the first mini-tournament around the village.
I was quite impressed that when you move on to the next area (and your second mini table of three races), You see Jeremiah has returned as a zombie while racing in the town.
Coffin Dodgers is full of little details, but equally there’s plenty of missed opportunities.
As mentioned before characters really don’t carry much weight, no personality, and a few cut-scenes to introduce you to the individuals rather than a plain box of text that 90% of people wont bother reading would have gone some way to making these guys more likeable.
Tracks are short, repetitive and rarely leave you requiring a break pedal and completing the game is equally disappointing, with nothing more than a short sequence explaining that the grim reaper didn’t fulfil his role.
But head back in for a second playthrough, and things are quite different, playing as Death himself, this is the one character that actually carries some appeal, and likewise, upon completion you’re treated to a special ending specifically for the reaper. Unfortunately the short races are even shorter, tracks feel even more repetitive and second time round there’s really not much challenge for the reaper with an already half-upgraded scooter.
When you take this ending into account it’s a real shame more time wasn’t invested into the other characters, maybe persuading players to play through more than twice.
After two playthroughs, I found myself with 900 from a possible 1000 gamerscore, and with only about 2 and a half hours on the clock, longevity seems to be the major issue here, There’s split screen play, but no online multiplayer. Solo, once you’ve completed the story twice, there’s really very little to do except a quick race, or free-roam.
There is an unadvertised game known as crazy grandad, where you have to race around the map to pick up certain items, but this is a mode you’ll probably play once and never again.
You could head back into the story, but on the second playthrough things are considerably easier due to the upgrades you purchase from your winnings, these coincidentally last the two play’s with my final upgrade purchase after the final race (2nd time around) so with a fully upgraded mobility scooter, there’ll be very little challenge thereafter.
The money you earn will unlock an upgrade every race or two, and while you might have to retry a few races to get all golds on your first play through, you’ll find it hard not to win every race by the time you have the main performance related upgrades.
Graphically, Coffin dodgers has a nice art style, and at times there’s some sharp, colourful and impressive visuals, but sadly these are limited to overlays and menu’s, the actual racing looks closer to a last-generation game, and while it runs nice and smooth 99% of the time, there’s really no excuse for jagged edges and washed out details on what is otherwise a pretty basic design.
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s only a single camera angle, and while I found myself getting used to it, it’s annoyingly low, meaning your character blocks more of the screen and there’s no way to avoid it.
Sound is marginally better, there’s a few original tunes but by the third race in each area you’re getting tired of them and by the second playthrough they’re already starting to grate and feel repetitive.