Cologne – Review
Follow Genre: Racing
Developer: Nhneno Games
Publisher: Nhneno Games
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Cologne – Review

Site Score
4.3
Good: controller enabled
Bad: needs quite a bit of polish
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0
(0 votes)
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Cologne is a city in Germany, and it has a horse racing track. That’s about the only link that can be produced between the city and the game that’s available on Steam. Nhneno Games isn’t a veteran game developer and every start up project is a struggle. Cologne is a strange title for a futuristic racing game, and if it isn’t a hit, then no one will be remembering the title, even if someone does want to recommend it to their friends. So if Nhneno Games sees the creation of their second game, they might want to put some more time into thinking up a title for their creation.

Story

Cologne takes place in another dimension, where the Earth underwent a severe drop off in viability and humanity and thus the populace was forced to leave their ‘homeland’. This is what the actual ‘introduction’ states. This makes it sound like they had to take a boat to another continent and try somewhere else. This isn’t the case, as in all sci-fi fantasy, humanity took to the skies. Many planets were found, but none were able to hold mankind. So mankind kept looking onward. As they encountered other species, things started to change. Sports like football and skiing weren’t as ‘hip’ enough. So ‘Cologne’ was built, a set of tracks for species to race in and compete against one another to win. That’s what can be gleaned from the introduction screen, which is best skipped because it’s so badly written and makes no sense whatsoever. It’s not just a flimsy plot, the grammar is atrocious and it raises more questions than answer them. So ‘Cologne’ isn’t going to win any awards for its narrative.

Graphics

Cologne is a game that’s been developed in Unity, a very versatile engine that, in the right hands, can make for a visually pleasing game. This game isn’t that pleasing to look at though. It’s not because the developers didn’t try, it’s just that they didn’t polish the game up enough. There’s a swathe of graphical glitches: getting stuck in tracks, objects and what’s even worse, whole tracks just disappearing and leaving the bike suspended in what seems to be mid-air and the bike eventually evaporating while you are still moving forward, or at least it sounds like you are.

It’s clear what the developers had in mind, a Wipeout like experience, where the track whizzes by you and you get an adrenaline rush from the speed. Keeping that as a goal and falling a little short, isn’t a bad thing, but they fell quite short of ‘just a little short’. Then again, updates can be made and the game can still be polished.

What’s also quite bothersome are the various meters that gauge the damage, heat and fuel levels of your vehicle, they don’t clearly show how much heat your bike has accumulated, how much fuel is still left or how much damage has been done to your bike. Only when it’s too late, and then it’s no use, because the upgrades are easily missed.

Sound

The game also misses a memorable soundtrack. The only sound that’ll hit your eardrums is the sound of your motor humming along as you race through the tracks, the sense of speed lacking and turning quite monotone as you progress through the game. Bumping into objects also doesn’t sound quite destructive enough, especially when you start going so fast, you’d think your fragile two-wheeled vehicle would burst into flames, a giant fireball explosion coming into existence, but you’ll only hear thuds as you ‘bump’ into things. Again a case of lack of polish.

Gameplay

Cologne is a racing game. The goal of the races is going as fast as possible to finish first. The cursor keys will move your bike, and the tab button will make your driver jump and avoid obstacles that are close to the floor.

When a game wants you to avoid things while going fast, the last thing you want is the controls working against you. At times you’ll be speeding and your vehicle will be turning smoothly, turning one way, but once you start turning too far, the motor suddenly jerks back and you’ll smash into an object that you should have missed if you had just been able to keep going the way you were going. What could help the game is that, if the vehicle were to be on a ‘track’ and you press left or right, your vehicle would jump to another track making steering more fluid, though this might make the game ‘feel’ slower and miss the intended impact. Then again, it would add playability and thus immersion.

Keeping your bike cooled, fuelled up and free of dents is quite essential, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for upgrades that keep the fuel levels up, the heat down, and the damages repaired, but as stated previously when you go fast, missing these is really, really, laughably easy, which doesn’t do the game any favors.

Conclusion

Cologne isn’t a bad game, but really is in need for a polish. From the introduction to the music, to the gameplay, there’s a lot of things that could streamline the gameplay and thus the immersion. For what you are getting, the price is rather steep, so maybe with a slashed price and quite a big update to the game, it might be worth it, but other games have tried this format and have been more successful without costing this much.

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First game ever was Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped, ever since then, gaming has been something that I've gravitated to. Reading's fun but not as interactive. Always up for a bout of online multiplayer. If that multiplayer is co-op. So if you are up for a friendly co-op session, hit me up. Rahenik's the name to search on PSN.

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