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FlatOut: Head On review

Silly, knockabout handheld racing


  • Smooth framerates
  • Tons to smash
  • Arcade-style fun


  • Preposterous physics
  • Getting used to the handling
  • Unforgiving difficulty

Liked the Destruction Derby games on the original PlayStation? Then you’ll get a kick out of this. Featuring smashable cars, tracks littered with physics-enabled objects and upgradeable motors, Head On is, like FlatOut on PS2, an unashamedly silly racer that mixes preposterous minigames, regular races and arena-based derbies to entertaining effect.

It looks great. The framerate is super smooth and the courses are large and detailed; the amount of things you can smash up, knock over and destroy is incredible. It plays well, too. The handling’s fat and arcade-like, letting you bomb around the track and powerslide violently into opponents. It can feel slightly slippy at first - the handling of the first tier of cars is poor - but as you upgrade and unlock better vehicles it improves.

In Carnage mode you work your way through TimeSplitters-style challenges - a mixture of races, minigames and destruction derbies - and earn credits to upgrade your car. It’s incredibly varied - one minute you’re sending your driver hurtling through the windshield in a twisted take on the long jump, the next you’re in a vehicular deathmatch, crunching opponents into the sides of an arena.

But if you don’t fancy that, there’s a regular Tournament mode and the opportunity to try out the minigames individually. Our only gripe is the difficulty balancing. It can get incredibly tough early on, and the other drivers’ AI seems unfairly infallible. They rarely make mistakes. But if you like the idea of sending a small man through a windshield and into a giant dartboard, this is worth a look.

Mar 12, 2008

More Info

DescriptionPlay this handheld crash orgy instead of causing a huge pileup on the highway. Please.
Franchise nameFlatOut
UK franchise nameFlatOut
US censor ratingTeen
Release date11 March 2008 (US), 14 March 2008 (UK)