Gear.Club Unlimited – Review
Follow Genre: Racing, Arcade, Sim
Developer: Eden Games Mobile
Publisher: Microïds
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Gear.Club Unlimited – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Addictive, Simple, Garage system
Bad: Not really a sim, Feels like a tablet game at times, No touch screen functions
User Score
6.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (2 votes cast)

It’s no secret that since the release of the Nintendo Wii, there haven’t been that many ‘serious’ race games on Nintendo’s consoles, as the audience of said products were often considered childish or immature in the street view. Nonetheless, the Switch has catered to a lot of gamers, be it young or old, mature or slightly less, and publisher Microids has taken it upon themselves to try and develop the first serious racing game for the handheld console and we were lucky enough to try our hand at it. While the game has its flaws, we were pleasantly surprised at this first attempt of bringing a serious semi-sim racing game to the Switch.

Gear Club Unlimited

Story

As expected, the game doesn’t really have a storyline, which is not uncommon for a title such as this. While you have a campaign mode, in which you gradually unlock new cars, tiers and tracks, there is no actual story value. Other than proceeding in the career mode, you’ll also have the chance to build your own garage, with several workstations, different parking lots, decorations and other trinkets, which is certainly a fun aspect to allow the player to do his own thing.

Graphics

Graphically Gear.Club Unlimited is a mixed bag, where the cars are done in a fairly decent fashion, albeit dated, the diverse environments are done in a more cheap style, with a lot of texture popping and rendering issues. For every negative point the graphics raise, there’s a mildly positive one to counter it, and vice versa, which makes it rather hard to tear down the game’s graphical department. Nonetheless, with a developer that’s named Eden Games Mobile, you can presume that this game was initially intended to be released on tablets and smartphones, making the Switch also a rather ideal target to develop this game for, even though it doesn’t support any touch screen functions.

Gear Club Unlimited 1

While the garage and the racing visuals are somewhat pleasant and decent for a first attempt at making a realistic game for the Switch, there are a few items that are odd for a release in this day and age, especially when working with rather dated visuals. Even though the game is not stressing the console, it does have a lot of framerate issues, and while these only happen a second at a time per few races, they are noticeable and annoying. Another weird item is the fact that there is no cockpit view, which is sad, as the game works with officially licensed cars. When looking inside the car via your windows, you’ll see an unanimated driver, who doesn’t even move his arms when taking corners. Sadly, there isn’t any sign of damage when hitting walls either, making the game a lot less realistic. Other than that, there’s only a day and night cycle, but no other weather effects. Overall, the game is underperforming in the graphical department for our current day standards.

Sounds

Gear.Club Unlimited does a decent job in its sound department with roaring engines, screeching tires and a handful of crash noises, but that’s pretty much about it. There is no music present during the races, which is a sad fact, as the game is more arcade than a simulation experience. You’ll only have music during the map overview, the race previews and the garage view. The main menu doesn’t even have sound, which gives the player the impression that the menus are still under construction. It’s been a trend that racing games are stepping away from upbeat music during races and truth be told, we don’t get why this is so common nowadays. All the great games in the past had fun music to get your blood pumping. On top of it all, there are sound bugs, where you hear random engine revs during the loading times, or races where you don’t hear your engine at all, which often remains as such for several races.

Gear Club Unlimited 2

Gameplay

Gear.Club Unlimited tries to bring the racing simulation genre to the Switch, but in reality it’s an arcade game with a few simulation elements, which might disappoint true simulation aficionados. Nonetheless, we enjoyed racing through the many tracks, with a fair amount of cars in different categories.

The campaign mode is laid out a whole lot like a mobile game, in which you can earn up to three stars per track, allowing you to further progress and unlock new areas in your respective categories and such. To help you during said races, you can adjust assistance settings, which help you brake, steer and deduct the chance of skidding out of control. Other than that, there’s the racing line, which shows you the ideal approach to clearing a level, all which are great tools to help newcomers to the genre adjust and slowly turn off these aides to become true seasoned drivers. Other than the somewhat arcade controls, the rewind function to erase mistakes during races and upgrades, the racing portion is straightforward, fun and easy to learn.

Like any other racing game there will be different modes, such as time trials, normal races and rally tracks, the latter being truly different than the normal racing modes. Nonetheless, you’ll easily notice that this game was developed to play in short bursts for handheld gamers, as most championships can be done in about fifteen minutes, with tracks often being not longer than two minutes in total. While you can replay the tracks of finished championships after completing them for some extra money, you can’t replay the championship itself for its added bonus prize. The latter would have been useful to earn a few welcome bucks as you’ll need all the money you can get in the campaign mode to upgrade your cars and unlock new ones to access higher tier races.

Gear Club Unlimited 3

With your hard earned cash, you’ll be able to buy new cars in four different categories, namely A to D, which all have three subcategories, 1 to 3, with six officially licensed cars available in each subdivision. All of these cars will be able to compete in their respective leagues, and thus you’ll need a minimum of twelve cars in your garage, which also has to be built from scratch. The garage system is unique and very fun to mess around with, as you’ll need to buy different workstations, all to improve the performance of your car, ranging from engine upgrades, to your tires, the body of the car and even rally settings. All of these separate workstations need to be unlocked, and in time upgraded, to cater to the needs of more expensive cars. All of this costs a lot of money, thus you’ll have to aim high in the races in order to pay your costly bills. We loved the garage system, as you can arrange it how you see fit, add decorations, make a ‘showroom’ for your cars, albeit a very limited one seeing if you own more than four cars the extra ones are stored in a warehouse which will have to be used to swap cars, and so on. While this once again gave us the impression that this game was made for a mobile device, we loved the concept and even though it was basic, the mechanics behind it.

If single player doesn’t suit you, you can play online, or you can play the split-screen mode with a friend but we loved the rather expansive, yet fast-moving campaign mode before diving into the online features.

Gear Club Unlimited 4

Conclusion

Gear.Club Unlimited has a lot of flaws, but it also has a lot of good things going on, which made us enjoy the game a lot. The original garage and upgrade mechanics were amusing and added a lot to the gameplay value, the different classes in the campaign made it so that you would try out many different cars, while saving up cash for the more expensive cars in the process. While the title turned out to be an arcade experience, rather than a full-fledged sim, it showed us that more realistic racing games truly have their place on the Switch. If Eden Games Mobile works out the kinks of this first concoction, they might be on to something great if a second installment would hit Nintendo’s console-handheld hybrid.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Gear.Club Unlimited - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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