Being the most successful RPG series of all time – spawning a dozen movies, stacks of merchandise and enough cash to bail out a bank – surely there’s no surprise that lots of games want to be Pokemon. Monster Racers takes the imitation/flattery a little further than most, to a point where at first glance it could be mistaken for the real thing. There’s a town built around some kind of monster-based economy, where people buy items, trade creatures and talk about their obsession. There are even rural areas where you can catch wild monsters. The difference is that instead of making the creatures fight, people race them.
The racing is strangely sedate – a side-scrolling 2D affair where the speedometer reads upwards of 200mph but it never looks like your monster is moving faster than walking pace. You just trundle along and jump over a few gaps, like a really basic platformer.
Catching wild monsters is done the same way – you send out one of your tame ones for a brief chase and then fire stars until your quarry can be captured. It’s a big game but until we get hold of the English version we can’t be sure that the depth of the RPG story will make up for the lameness of what we’ve seen of the racing. For now, consider it an interesting and utterly brazen curiosity, although one we do hope gets a release over here.
Import Score: 7