The creators of last year's super-fun Aqua Moto Racing Utopia have been busy. Their latest title exchanges water for snowy landscapes but does that result in a worthwhile racer? Saddle up and let's find out.
Snow Moto Racing Freedom is an interesting take on the classic racing formula. Although the gameplay is what you'd expect from a snowmobile racer, the tracks are laid out rather unconventionally. Basically, you have to drive through a series of gates and whoever gets through all of them first wins. Considering the tracks are far from linear, you can take whichever path you desire from gate to gate which opens up the gameplay in a genuinely welcoming way. Sometimes, travelling through a thick forest may allow you to sneak into first place but you might also hit a few trees along the way. That being said, you'll just hop right back on your vehicle whenever you crash (just like in Aqua Moto Racing Utopia) so messing up is rarely a big deal. The only significant mistake you can make is missing a gate because you'll have to backtrack and pass through it in the specified direction. I tried reversing through one when I was disoriented and trust me; that doesn't work.
Unfortunately, Snow Moto Racing Freedom certainly doesn't look like much. I understand that it takes place in snow-covered hills but the fact that every track looks the same definitely makes it an underwhelming game to watch. In fact, the tracks are so barren that spotting a cabin in the distance is actually quite exciting. The graphics aren't anything special either with generic-looking racers and effects. However, the different kinds of weather and times of day add some variety to the equation. The audio suffers from the same sort of mediocrity with bland engine whirring and a lame rock music soundtrack.
Seeing as the gameplay is quite simple at its core, playing multiplayer is pretty fun. Whether you prefer to race locally or online, the easy to pick up and play racing is perfectly suited for a few multiplayer sessions. Besides the main racing types, you can also try Snocross races that play like a Motocross game but I found these to be frustrating due to not being able to clearly see the track ahead. The main Sprint races are far superior. Finally, you can challenge Freestyle events in arenas in order to pull off as many tricks as possible. Again, this mode isn't very enjoyable because the basic tricks aren't all that satisfying to pull off.
Since Aqua Moto Racing Utopia featured mini-games and various vehicle types that drastically changed the gameplay, I was disappointed by the selection of content featured here. There's essentially only one worthwhile type of racing and it's not even half as fun as the developers' previous game. I would go so far to say that the racing here is simply unrefined. Don't get me wrong, it can be fun in short bursts but merely weaving through gates in mostly lifeless environments ends up feeling tedious early on. Thankfully, you can unlock additional vehicles and championships as you level up your rank and master races. That being said, there are only a dozen vehicles to collect. On the other hand, there's an impressive amount of tracks to race on so mastering them all will take a long time.
Snow Moto Racing Freedom is a disappointing follow-up to last year's surprisingly enjoyable Aqua Moto Racing Utopia. Although it features interesting open-ended tracks, the gameplay simply doesn't pull itself from racing mediocrity.
- + Open-ended track setup adds an interesting layer of freedom to racing
- + Easy to pick up and play multiplayer racing that you can enjoy both locally and online
- - Lackluster audio and graphics / environments mostly look the same
- - Gameplay is rather unrefined
- - Could use more modes and content