Saturday, October 7, 2023

Online Saturday - Disney Speedstorm - Poor Tutorial And U.I Detract From Good Racing And Graphics

Welcome to Online Saturday.
For today's video i'm trying out the free to play Nintendo Switch game Disney Speedstorm. this game is out on other platforms and had been out for a little while before as something akin to a paid beta. but now it's free to play and i went in expecting a polished game with a robust selection of characters and tracks. unfortunately, wasn't the case.

The game starts with what looks like a good tutorial and across many sections it says what menus and stuff are. but it's because it looks so useful that when it turns out to not be comprehensive it comes across as a half finished tutorial. there are some basic stuff not covered by the tutorial, like the rails and jumps, some basic moves, like charged attacks, and things are made worse by some poor U.I choices.

one of the very first things the game asks you to do is choose your racing style. but it doesn't define what either is. you can change it in the menus later, but even then it doesn't give much more detail. this lack of detail is apparent throughout the U.I and a real missed opportunity to make the came more accessible and easy to understand. throughout the video i complain about many different aspects of the game that are poorly explained, if they are at all.

These choices give the game a feel of a mobile phone game. but in trying to be minimal and be useable across many devices, it has instead come across as a mobile game that's surprisingly not as accessible or as straightforward as you'd expect for a Disney title. it's almost like it has an identity crisis. a key example of that is how the game promotes energy drinks and uses them to level up characters. it's well documented how multiple energy drinks can be bad for health, so it having such a prominent use in this game is almost baffling and it doesn't really make much sense in the game's universe anyway.

Whilst the game has many issues, one of them isn't the racing itself. whilst there are things you'll have to work out yourself because the game won't tell, the core racing itself is good. but, in the beginning, it doesn't feel fast. instead of breaking the game into speed categories, your speed is determined by your character's stats. so the higher the level your character is the faster they'll go. i don't mind it, but i'm a little unsure as to whether or not the online multiplayer is going to be successfully balanced. the game does use drifting and it doesn't take long to get used to. each character has their own selection of weapons as well as a character specific move. for the offline races, it felt exciting, close, and it often came down to the wire. 

But, even tho it's an option on the main menu, you can't start with Online. you have to do a minimum of 9 offline races before you can unlock the Online mode. and even then it's only a ranked online mode. it felt very strange to me that the first online mode unlocked is ranked instead of unranked. the two online races i took part in felt unbalanced, with a couple racing ahead and none of use seemingly able to do anything, or the game giving us anything, to catch up to them. it didn't feel as fun or as balanced as the offline racing did and it's why i'm concerned that the online modes are going to be unbalanced. but having this be the first online mode people play feels like a quick way to turn people off online as it could just be not fun.

This might be a fun game to play offline, and if that's all you want to do then i would recommend the game. but if you're looking to play it online, then i wouldn't recommend the game and suggest you wait until the game is patched. not only because of how unbalanced the online felt, but also because it seemed like the online mode was struggling with there being disconnections and poor connections. i have no idea what region it's placed me in, so i can't comment if that's the reason. with the game in the state it's in, it feels like a shame that such fun core racing mechanics have been placed into a poorly designed mobile phone game. coupled with the weight of the Disney brand behind it, it's a case of what could've been.