In the future, we will all race as giant, fighting robots - that much we know. Victory won't depend as much on speed as it will survival via combined team tactics, cunning strategy, and the ability to crush a helpless enemy so far into the asphalt that their face melts.
The Immortal Grand Prix is the year 2049's answer to our generation's NASCAR Chase for the Cup, with the redneck factor ratcheted down a few notches. As Team Satomi, you're put square in the middle of the maelstrom of a rocket-fueled mechanized death race circuit, pitted against rivals of wildly varying skills and approaches.
The main arc of the game is the Grand Prix mode, where the goal is simple - advance through the beginner leagues all the way to the top of the IGPX food chain to claim the crown as robot racing's champions of the world. Satomi teammates Takeshi, Liz, and Amy (with cyber kitty cat Luca in tow) are split up into a fearsome squad set to conquer the nefarious metallic clubs that stand in the way of their destiny. Structured as a speedy forward, bulky defender, and balanced middleman, respectively, you can take control of each of them at any time, depending on which rival you feel like butchering.
The tracks where they roll resemble the fantastical orange Hot Wheels contraptions that you strung throughout your house when you were just a wee lad, only this time it's not so darn easy to fly off the course. Naturally, the die-cast models you used back then weren't pile-driving each other into the concrete - but we digress.
Winning the ultimate prize comprises three circuit championships. The first serves as not much more than an extended training mode, teaching the ins and outs of attacks, teamwork, and the sprint to the finish line. Along the way you'll earn some cash to upgrade the mechs of your choice - which you'll desperately need later on.
Once you hit the middle of the second tier division, the difficulty ramps up something fierce. No longer will simple blocks and button-mashing attacks take care of business; teamwork formations and combined offensives are the only way to go. By the time you're in the Big Show, the Satomi need to be a well-oiled triumvirate to stand a chance - otherwise your enemies will simply kick your metal ass all over the place.
Other than occasionally needing to dodge out of the way of an obstacle or two, the game handles the racing for you until the mad dash at the finish. Your most pressing concern is brawling mecha-style. There aren't many attack choices - some block/counter moves are the most sophisticated - but our personal favorite is the "grab 'n face plant." There's a ton of satisfaction in picking up an opposing mech and dragging them face first along the track, sparks a-flyin', decreasing their stamina and humiliating them all at once. Good times, good times.
There are gobs of customization options for each of your squad (and lord knows you'll need 'em), but there's not much variety to the goings on, and the whole Grand Prix affair won't take you much more than 8 hours or so. Multiplayer offers some extended usage, but not enough to keep it a long-term rotation. Overall, IGPX is a competent if not overly sophisticated niche title. There's some good stuff going on here - but just not enough of it to call it a must-have.