art of rally low poly retro classic rally racing indie art game buddha

Art of Rally: First and New Impressions

Indie

Somewhere in my past, I played an awesome rally game that came fully loaded with mud-flapping corners and virtually no control over anything. I also know that these aren’t a grapevine of hits in the racing genre, but rather a genre unto itself. That said, I had no idea before Art of Rally that rally races have a rich aesthetic history that looks darn fine low-poly rendered on a computer screen.

Okay, let’s get meta.

Art of Rally: Go

I don’t want to bog this down with too much research, because I know there’s some treatise on the themes of this game out there which don’t need to have a lot of bearing on anything in it. What I can say, is that this game takes you on a journey from 1960’s Western Europe up unto the 70’s, the 80’s, etc. While a low poly tree or wiggly polygon representing a person don’t change dramatically through the ages, a vehicle or a country’s cultural context do.

So, that’s what I’ve gathered from this is there is a lot of attention paid to these variations. One thing you might notice upon loading up Art of Rally is it is very very minimalist. An off center cream colored window, some non-assuming text, and a kind of unintuitive menu scheme. I wouldn’t mention that if it was a criticism, but I do because this game likes to surprise you.

art of rally screenshot

It’s All About Controllers

The first time I played this, last year, which was entirely too long ago, I actually didn’t like it. I didn’t want to like it. I liked the graphics to an extent, but low poly wasn’t holding over my frustration. This is not a directed statement, or passive aggressive for that matter, but when I recently got my hands on a PS4 DualShock 4 controller, art of rally became a whole new game for me. A very enjoyable game. You could actually benchmark controller performance based on this game.

ps4 controller gif

I think the reason that is has to do with the completely important design of racing in the game. It’s always been something which discouraged me, no matter what the racing game, but when you start off, you usually start off with some sort of vehicle that you can barely control. It would be sort of hilarious if it wasn’t so frustrating.

What I’ve found in this feature is you’re probably “gonna have a bad time.” At least at first. It’s a blessing in disguise though. When you learn to control the junky top of the line rally car, you’ll start to have much smoother experience.

Unlike many racing games, focusing on the car is not the way to have the most control over your driving. It is actually the landscapes, I realized, that are important. Just get into a minimal gear and watch the way the trees pass by as the wisps of wind trace along the curves of the lengthy tracks. You’ll find running the track is a lot easier after this, very peaceful, perhaps reflective of the Buddha shrine featured for this review.

Umm, ‘Cause it Looks Cool. [really]

art of rally screenshot

This game is all about aesthetics. If you like classic European cars, low poly sunsets, and interesting Norwegian town names, you will seriously love this. Otherwise, it’s a cool indie game, with a cool premise, and actually pretty relaxing.

This game is class.

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