Sometimes it’s nice to just play a game that focuses more on offering a simplistic experience that you can just pick up and play on a whim as opposed to one that you’ve really got to invest your time into. That’s what you get with Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers, the new arcade-like isometric racer from developer UNTIES that has just released on the Nintendo Switch.
However, whilst the casual gaming approach works for a lot of games, the sheer lack of depth and replayability of Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers makes it a title you’ll probably be done with after just an hour of playing.
Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers sees you racing a selection of miniature vehicles across a variety of different game modes. You’re given two control modes to choose between: one which allows you to control your car just by pointing the control stick in the direction you want to go, and one which feels more like a traditional racer where you accelerate with a button and simply control the direction of your car with the stick. Whilst racing, you’ll have access to a boost that’ll give you a quick increase of speed… and that’s it. As far as the racing itself is concerned, Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers goes all-out on the simplistic side of things, and in fairness it does work and can be fun. Sure, it could be argued that it’s TOO simple in design, but there’s an undeniable charm to it. Add to that the game’s vibrantly charming voxel visual style and it’s easy to see it’s certainly got some appeal.
The standard races take place over twelve short tracks, so you shouldn’t expect to find yourself invested in it for too long. Outside of the three different environment types on offer, the tracks rarely offer anything that feels particularly unique though, so there’s not too much excitement to be found as you work through them all. It’s not terrible since the simple racing mechanics work well enough, but you shouldn’t expect to find yourself thrilled by any of it.
It’s not just racing in Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers though, with individual battle modes available that offer something a little bit different. There are four in total: Goal, Paint, Coins and Smash.
Goal plays in a similar way to Rocket League, with players battling it out across a miniature football field to hit the ball in the opponent’s net. Paint is more akin to Splatoon, with racers covering the arena with their colour by driving over it to earn points. Coin sees drivers collecting coins in the arena and avoiding bombs, whilst Smash tasks them with hitting each other off the arena. In fairness, each game mode is pretty unique and they can be fun to play, though their simple nature makes them feel more like a mini-game you’d find in Mario Party as opposed to a full-fledged game mode. It’s even more noticeable in single player, where you’ll find yourself growing bored of each game mode within minutes thanks to the lack of any real opposition.
Fortunately, Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers features both local and online multiplayer for up to eight players, and it’s here that the game shows off its best side. Playing through each game mode with a group of friends is actually a lot of fun – online with strangers is good too, though finding an active match hasn’t been an easy task for me so far. I managed to get a group of friends together though and we had fun, particularly in the Paint mode (and even more so in the surprisingly competitive races).
Much like the single player modes though, Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers’ multiplayer doesn’t really have long-term appeal. Sure, I enjoyed it with friends for a while, but there’s not enough depth on offer to keep you coming back for more time and time again. It’s the sort of thing you’re able to enjoy for one evening, but then never play again – it’s a shame too because it could be pretty fun, it just had very limited lasting appeal.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have fun playing Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers, especially when competing with friends, but there’s simply not enough depth or replay value there to make it a must-own arcade racer. I’d seen everything it really had to offer within an hour and whilst it does feature online multiplayer modes, there’s not really enough there to keep you coming back for more time and time again.
There’s no denying that there’s charm to the experience though and it’s certainly not a bad game – it’s just a hard one to recommend when there are meatier racing experiences available right now that’ll keep you hooked in a lot longer.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch