Phaseshift is a stylised combat racer developed and published by Bubblehead Studios. The game is currently in early access so won’t get a full review yet, but this futuristic violent motorbike racer already knows what it is, and is showing tons of potential. Let’s accelerate into the Phaseshift PC Preview!
After researching, I came across a few other games like Phaseshift from the past. Kinetica and Extreme G share some elements with Phaseshift such as aesthetics and speed, but the best comparison is Full Auto. I loved full auto, with high octane action and ridiculous weapons to utilise. These comparisons are in no way a detriment; they’re there to highlight that someone has come along and said ‘You know what? We need this again’ and they were right.
If you’ve never played any of these games, the concept is simple. A racing game, but with weapons on your vehicles so you can cause maximum carnage whilst trying to get ahead. Phaseshift see’s you customizing your own futuristic bike, as well as choosing four weapons to utilise during the race. These can be mines, rockets, grenades, machine guns but also shields and even orbiting explosives that destroy other bikes if they get too close. All of this takes place in a series of distinct, yet artistically consistent beautiful maps.
The racing is good, being fast paced and has a nice flow to it, but suffers in two areas; firstly the tracks can feel like straight lines at times with abrupt turns on corners. This does feel somewhat deliberate as your attention is divided between battling your opponents and speeding past them, so on long straight tracks you can focus on blasting enemies to bits. But this is a racing game, and taking a turn at speed with heavy drift only to pop out at full speed again is almost all of the fun of racing games to me.
The other side of the coin is the combat, which I have mixed feelings on. The damage and collision of the weapons feels good, with weapons melting enemies when they hit and explosions rightfully demolishing anything near them. Also, other utilities like the shield powerup are perfect when you need a break from being a punching bag (or as I found out, completely necessary in first place when other racers are right behind you hurtling rockets non-stop)
There are a few things that could be done to add some more kick though; currently, all weapons feel a bit flimsy or have no onscreen presence save a specific few. Half the time I didn’t even know where my machine gun was firing due to very little visual feedback, but when I did line it up it melted the other racers. In a game as graphically stylised and fast-paced as this, things being immediately visible is vital to making split-second corrections or evasions, so should definitely be ramped up.
The game as a whole can feel unfair at times, especially with some game modes. One mode sees the person in last place being eliminated every fifteen seconds, which is great if you don’t get destroyed by all other AI the second weapons activate, leaving no room to catch up. I finished a race in less than 30 seconds twice due to this, which definitely needs some tweaks.
The damage is almost too high at times as well; I found myself using the shield powerup constantly in first place as it’s impossible to speed off ahead like in other racers, so it’s almost more luck rather than skill that you won’t be blasted out of first place a few short seconds after speeding past other racers.
The game could use more durability on its bikes, as well as a skilful way to recharge shields without letting people be invincible, as the slow recharge is almost useless at the moment. Maybe even a side dodge function that shoots you left or right on a cooldown would go a long way to countering this.
Phaseshift PC Preview – Verdict
With everything weighed up, this is definitely a game worth grabbing. It’s only going to improve, and from a small indie dev with such a small price tag the game is already fantastic and worth every penny, so give it some love if you need to scratch that high-speed futuristic destruction itch.
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