FlatOut (Wii Review) by Carl B.
Publisher: Zoo Publishing Inc.
Release Date: November 23, 2010
December 9, 2010, by Carl B. - Realistic racing games have been few and far between on Wii, with the console being mostly dominated by cart racers when it comes to the racing genre. EA has released games in their Need for Speed series on Wii, but none of them have been as high quality of the HD versions. On November 23, 2010, Zoo Publishing released a Wii exclusive entry in their FlatOut series, developed by Team6. Is FlatOut the realistic racing fix gamers are looking for on Wii?
FlatOut boasts four different game modes for players to play either by themselves or with another player via local splitscreen: Racing, Stunt, Battle Arena, and Car Basher. Racing mode is the standard FlatOut racing experience; players use a variety of cars as they go up against three other AI controlled racers to come out on top either by finishing a race the honest way or destroying their vehicles. There are three different chapters each with four tracks for players to race in for a total of 12 race tracks. The areas include villages of Southern Europe, Industrial Ports, and the busy streets of a Financial Center. In every race the player's car has a health meter, and when it reaches zero, the car no longer runs. Players can slam into other cars on the race track, often sending the player's car flying into the air.
Stunt mode places players in different courses with their main objective being to score as many points by going off ramps until their car blows up. Multiplayer Stunt mode shakes things up a bit, giving both players control of the same car.
Battle Arena is similar to a destruction derby. Players drive around a small arena-like area as they bash into other cars. The arena is littered with several traps that include flames and tesla coils. Car Basher mode is similar to Battle Arena, except the cars are now armed with 12 different types of weapons as they go at each other.
While FlatOut features several arcade-style game modes, the title's control scheme is less than desirable. Players control vehicles with a long Wii Remote turned horizontally, with car movements dictated by the direction the player tilts the Wii Remote. This control setup worked decently in Mario Kart Wii, but this isn't the case in FlatOut. Races are often times blazing fast making it hard for players to make sharp turns, and when the drift function is used with the B button it turns the car completely around. The back of the game's box shows an icon for the Classic Controller, but strangely enough, the game doesn't recognize the Classic Controller or Classic Controller Pro when it's plugged into the Wii Remote.
FlatOut isn't anything to write home about in the visual department, but it gets the job done with a steady frame rate and physics system at the cost of overall visual quality. The game's soundtrack is filled with the same type of techno beats found in most racers this generation and last. FlatOut doesn't feature an online multiplayer component, thus crippling its replay value - online functionality for racers is almost essential in this age.
10/15 - Standard techno beats fills FlatOut's soundtrack.
13/20 - FlatOut has a steady frame rate and some nice physics effects, but the overall visual quality of the game is on the PS2 level.
18/25 - Four different arcade-style game modes will keep some players engaged, while others will be disappointed by the lack of online multiplayer.
29/40 - Using the Wii Remote as a steering wheel worked in Mario Kart Wii, but it fails in FlatOut's faster paced racing style.
70/100 - FlatOut certainly isn't the best racing game on Wii, but for a $19.99 price tag, the game offers just enough to warrant a purchase by arcade-style racing fans.