Gear.Club Unlimited Nintendo Switch Review: A Solid Start
Simulation racing games are making the rounds like crazy right now, but they’re a mixed bag. [...]
Simulation racing games are making the rounds like crazy right now, but they're a mixed bag. While Project CARS 2 and Gran Turismo Sport have the look of a quality machine nailed down, their options are either too limited or too short for their intended audiences. That leaves games like Forza Motorsport 7 and DiRT 4 to pick up the slack, which they admirably do – and then some.
But what about the Nintendo Switch? The closest thing it has to racing greatness right now is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which isn't too shabby at all. But there are those seeking out an enthusiast experience for the machine, and that's where Eden Games' Gear.Club Unlimited comes in. While it's hardly the well-oiled machine that Forza Motorsport 7 is, it's a solid start on what could be a fine journey for a follow-up.
The game originally came out as a mobile release last year, so there may be some folks balking at the idea of paying around $30 or so to drive around with it. And, no, it doesn't have all the options you may look for in a racing game. However, it delivers the sim experience for the most part, and the way you can open up your garage and racing career are rather impressive.
A Small But Satisfying Racer
Gear.Club has the look of a super-serious racing game, but its controls are very approachable. Within a matter of turns, you'll be able to master what each car is capable of, and be ready to step up to tougher competition that comes at you down the road. There are times when you'll hit the wall, but that's mainly because of something you did, and not an error with the handling.
As for how to play, both console and handheld modes work really well with this game, and you can turn a number of different aids off and on, depending on how deep a challenge you want to go for. But maybe that's a light term, as the AI in Gear.Club isn't the most determined we've seen in a racing game. Fortunately, they pick up a little later in the game, which is cool.
You can also race against friends. The game supports a competitive online ghost mode, and while that's not full-blown online racing like we would've wanted, there are some interesting challenges here. You can also take on up to three friends in split-screen racing, or, as I like to call it, the "N64 way" – and it's a blast competing for a quick first place win.prevnext
Mario Kart It Isn't...But It's Still Fun
If it's single player you prefer, there's a lot to do in Gear.Club, with a huge campaign where you can unlock different areas and cars within the gaming world, as well as new car categories and dealerships, where you can upgrade to better models. Your garage really expands too, with a number of new work centers that you can place however you see fit. It's not the greatest customization option, as everything looks so dinky and boxed in. But it's not bad, and you can place more important things at the forefront.
While Gear.Club can't hold a candle to the 4K experience that Forza pumps out, it looks very good on the Switch. The game runs at a very consistent frame rate, and the courses, as small as they are, offer a vivid amount of detail. The cars are excellently designed too, even if they don't take damage from your scuffs with the side of the road. I just wish the game had more to offer on the audio front. The music is rather forgettable at best (for once, I missed licensed tracks), and the engines all sound about the same.
Obviously, a few of you may not feel like Gear.Club is worth the $30 price of entry, especially without full-blown online multiplayer or racing options like Mario Kart 8 has to offer. And it does come up short in some areas when it could've easily revved ahead. But it's a fairly good burst of racing air for the Switch, for those that are looking for it. And who knows, it just might motivate Eden Games to shoot for an even larger checkered flag with a follow-up.
Or, hey, maybe they can work on the V-Rally series again. We'd be down to play that on the Switch.
WWG's Score: 3.5 out of 5
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev