Remember a little while back when Milky Tea launched their Kickstarter campaign for their OAP Kart Racer, Coffin Dodgers? Well sadly it barely even scratched the surface of its £65,000 goal, so instead they continued developing the game, and launched it onto Early Access instead. After a short period, the game has finally launched, but it seems it was resurrected a little too soon.
Coffin Dodgers, in short, is a kart racer with a very interesting story attached to it. It seems the quiet little retirement town is about to get turned upside down as Death is coming to visit and wants to play a game. That game, become the best mobility scooter racer or be faced with the harsh yet inevitable reality of death.
In Coffin Dodgers you’re required to come at least in the top three in order to progress to the next championship otherwise your OAP of choice gets the kiss of death, and you’re required to start all over again. It sounds pretty simple, but a handful of mechanics have been put into place which makes progression pretty darn difficult.
Think Mario Kart, but with oldies as the stars. You race around a series of tracks within this little retirement village collecting luggage filled with weapons to use against your pensioner pals. These are the usual array of things from targeted rockets, oil slick, a defibrillator, and a machine gun. These, like in other similar kart racers, are used for you to get the advantage, and are more often than not pretty unfair, but hey, that’s the race for you.
There is however one more mechanic which made my blood boil. The ability to melee other racers to either slow them down a little, or if you have the time to charge it up, unleash a deadly swing that has their balding, liver spotted bodies flailing across the track. Though the range of the melee is short, it comes without warning and can at times completely ruin a race for you. It’s frustrating and I hate it.
Aside from the frustrating melee mechanic, the game is a pretty decent contender to games like Mario Kart, Sonic Racing, and other kart racers. The only issue it does have is that the amount of courses available is pretty small, and the multiplayer is completely dead. Which is fine for a quick hour or two of play, but for longevity, it’s pretty disappointing.
In Early Access many expected the game to come with more content once it launched fully, but apparently, at least according to Steam Reviews, Milky Tea did very little in the way of additional content at launch, which is a real shame.
Visually however, it’s quite endearing and was one of the reasons I was hyped about the game when it launched on Kickstarter. It takes on a bright cartoon-like appearance with a lot of humour thrown in there. I mean, what other racer can you swing a string of sausages at a zombie version of your pensioner friend while you race around a retirement village in a mobility scooter with Nitrous Oxide strapped to the back all while racing against the Grim Reaper?
The game’s charming graphics and humour is certainly a redeeming factor to the disappointing multiplayer and fairly short campaign, but it’s just one of those games that you’ll enjoy for an hour or two until you get frustrated with racing the same tracks over and over and getting nowhere on the leaderboard.
This is unfortunately due to the game’s fairly dodgy progression that forces you to revisit old tracks and championships in order to earn the cash to upgrade your scooter. If you finish any less than third place you’re rewarded with nothing but XP which offers very little to the player. It’s cash we want, not XP. Even if a very small monetary sum was offered for coming in fourth or fifth it’d be more satisfying and would probably encourage longer play sessions.
Another redeeming factor is how this isn’t just a generic kart racing clone. Milky Tea has added more of a back story to why you’re racing as well as the idea that if you do terribly, your character will essentially die. With the added melee, the interesting tracks, and bright colourful graphics Coffin Dodgers is a pretty fun game.
Sadly it can get tedious fairly quickly and with the lack of multiplayer popularity, the very little content available, the game can be completed in a very short amount of time. There is a local multiplayer mode, which is a nice addition, but even then, with the lack of content and sometimes buggy AI, the game still feels like it could have some work doing to it.
The only real way I can describe Coffin Dodgers is like that liquorice that’s sweet on the outside, but has a bitter center. In short bursts the game is a lot of fun and can offer the odd chuckle here and there, but after a little while it gets a little tedious and frustrating. Which is a real shame.
This review was based on the Steam version of Coffin Dodgers provided to us by Milky Tea.