The Nintendo Switch is a great little device that lets you play some pretty fantastic games on the go and in front of your TV. It’s got some pretty fantastic titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Splatoon, and more. But it is lacking something, and that’s a decent racing title that isn’t just another kart racer. In comes Gear.Club Unlimited 2, a sim-cade style racer which hopes to change that. Unfortunately, unless you like waiting around, you won’t find it here.
At one point it took the game little under three minutes for me to load it up get into any form of actual gameplay which is just not the most ideal loading times for a Switch-specific title. In addition, navigating from the map to the garage could take up to 40 – 60 seconds. Yes, I timed menu transitions for the sake of this review, because, well… I had the time to.
This wouldn’t necessarily be so bad if you only had to experience this loading screen once, but the game has players bouncing from the world map to races to garages to showrooms throughout the entire game, and with each one taking over 30 seconds to load, this can quickly add up making your time with Gear.Club Unlimited 2 partially waiting for it to load which just isn’t fun.
As for the actual gameplay itself, there’s a lot going on in Gear.Club Unlimited 2 which could make it a really great racing title on the Switch. While the racing is more of an arcade experience due to the console’s control limitations, there’s plenty in store for players who like to tweak their vehicles thanks to the game’s pretty in-depth garage which players can build and upgrade as they progress.
The garage features several things you’d find in world-class car racing teams’ garages from tire workshops, engine workshops, and even wind tunnels to really get the most out of your vehicle,
Speaking of which. Let me go back to the controls a second. Because the triggers on the Nintendo Switch are basically buttons, there’s no pressure sensitivity available which means you’re either slamming the pedal to the metal or smashing the brakes. Eden Games have done a fantastic job of making braking and acceleration seem more natural because of this, but controlling the car is sometimes a little difficult, especially with all assists off.
Speaking of handling, Gear.Club Unlimited 2 has the addition of different surfaces to race on from Snow to Sand. The game also tries to spin a multiple discipline angle too by having you add a Rally Workshop into your garage which simply allows you to upgrade your transmission, suspension, and tires for a more Rally experience. However, as soon as you hit anything other than tarmac, your vehicle has a mind of its own and more often than not you’ll end up in the barriers.
As for gameplay, you’ll initially find yourself racing in either a time trial racing against AI ghost vehicles, or in a race with other “real” vehicles. The former is my preferred race as the AI in Gear.Club Unlimited 2 is something to be desired. Some are aggressive, others just simply have no idea how to drive.
The game’s racing line, which assists players who are a little unsure on braking and acceleration, is also a little generous at times with braking areas feeling a little too soon, especially given how there’s no way to lightly press the brakes, so more often than not I’d come to an almost dead stop while following the racing line, causing my opponents to whiz straight past me.
I had high hopes for Gear.Club Unlimited 2. I wanted it to be a great racing title for the Switch, one which wasn’t Mario Kart or some other mascot-based kart racer. Sure, the game does offer a different racing experience, but it’s just not quite what I’d hoped for and as I have no experience with the first game I’m unsure whether this is an improvement over the first or not.
I feel that Eden Games tried their best with the platform at hand to make a very in-depth racing game which on another platform would be a pretty great addition to some of the sim-cade racers out there, however I can’t help but feel the Nintendo Switch has held back the game’s true potential, and I think that’s the biggest issue with Gear.Club Unlimited 2. It teeters on the edge of being a fantastic racer but the hardware limitations of the Nintendo Switch push it into the realm of frustration.
Overall, Gear.Club Unlimited 2 is a complete miss. While it does admittedly look pretty and the addition of certain licensed cars makes a huge difference, the game’s performance, handling, and overall experience is just painful. I couldn’t recommend this game less to racing fans looking for a decent racer on the Switch. I’d just wait for Grid Autosport’s arrival in the coming months.