Grip: Combat Racing is a fast-paced racing game with meaty vehicles racing on gravity-defying circuits. The game is like a heavy-metal Mario Kart with power-ups that include guns, rockets, shields and boosts. The developers have just released the Vomit Racing upgrade that allows the game to be played in VR.
Grip, when played flat (us groovy VR peeps term for non-VR gaming), is alright. It’s got shades of Wipeout, the circuits are good fun and the visuals nice to look at. But it’s a game that’s easily overlooked. It’s the sort of game that you pick up in a Steam sale because it sounds like a good idea, but you never play it.
I wonder if the developers, when they’d finished it, though the same way. It’s good, but it lacks that special source. It’s your Red Rooster, when you wanted KFC.
VR is Grip’s special sauce, and it’s bloody spicy.
People say that graphics aren’t everything in a game. Apart from Broforce, I don’t agree, I think graphics are pretty important. But I get the sentiment. Good graphics can make a so-so game palatable.
VR, however, can make a decent futuristic vehicular combat racing game absolutely fantastic. Grip is fast, and billion times faster and more mental in VR.
I started out with the third person view, which was alright, but it was only when I changed to the first-person/cockpit view that I thought “bloody hell”. See, the vehicles in Grip can flip right over and carry on going, which also flips the camera. They can drive along walls and up/down vertical inclines at breakneck speeds. With a Vive Cosmos VR headset on it’s a full-on sensory onslaught.
Having obtained my VR “legs” a while ago, I don’t get motion sickness. I can imagine a few VR softies going a bit green playing Grip. The developers have retained some instrumentation/visual cues to help the feeble hold down the contents of their stomachs. Which is good, cos otherwise they’d be missing out of a spectacular and outrageous VR racer.
All of the game’s modes are available in VR, the developers have just used it as a different display method rather than a botched together gimmick. This means you can play the all the single-player modes and online.
Grip has a variety of different event types. Classic race is a racing to the finish, but with all the power-ups, whereas ultimate race awards drivers points for combat as well. Elimination is a race were every 30 seconds the last vehicle gets eliminated. Speed daemon is a straight race with no power-ups. There’s also a time trial mode.
As well as racing, players can partake in a deathmatch arena, with the last man standing being the winner. The carfour mode is an interesting assault course to test drivers’ skill.
There is also a campaign mode. This consists of a series of tournaments featuring events from the different game modes.
As a 2D game, Grip is a lot of fun. There’s lots to do and the racing requires concentration right down to the wire. The circuits are absolutely bonkers, defying the laws of physics at every turn.
In virtual reality, Grip: Combat Racing is another beast entirely. The lighting fast racing, wall / ceiling running vehicles and vertical track design make for a nigh on perfect futuristic VR racing game.
Released: April 2020
Platforms: PC (Windows 10)
Genre: Racing, VR
Developer: Wired Productions
Publisher: Wired Productions