Microsoft Xbox OneAlso available on PC and Sony PlayStation 4
Razed is a fast-paced, single player, platform racing game where you have one goal, get through the level as fast as you can. Developed by Warpfish Games, an English studio comprised of just two people, Razed is technically the studio's first game. They developed a prototype called "Outcry", but that later evolved into Razed.
The very first thing that happens when you start your adventure is you're strapped into new shoes. Not just any shoes, these shoes are "lefty" and "righty". Lefty seems to be the pleasant shoe; he'll allow you to build up energy as you run. Righty, on the other hand, he's not so friendly, If your energy drops to zero, he'll explode and take you with him. You have two ways of building energy, always be on the move or pick up some of the carefully placed energy stones. Upgrades are available as you make your way through the game, upgrades such as super jump and drift, amongst others. To do this, you need to pick up "upgrade segments". These are placed in less obvious places throughout each course, and once you know what to look for, these are relatively easy to spot. However, they aren't easy to obtain. Multiple times I found myself redoing the course to pick up missed segments, this fast became frustrating, but it's part of the game, so it's something I learned to live with.
The game starts out with the first few levels acting as a tutorial. It eases you into the game while teaching you core mechanics you'll need to master if you wish to progress. Razed takes a steep difficulty curve without any prior warning, one level I found myself flying through it in two or three tries and then all of a sudden found myself dying continuously to something as simple as a sharp right turn. These sort of games are all about its difficulty, and it wouldn't be enjoyable if you could fly through these levels without any challenge, I wish it would have eased the difficulty up rather than a sudden spike, as I feel I would have handled that a bit better. You'll eventually learn the layout of the course, which will make completing it a breeze, but until then, expect to die continuously, and more than likely to something straightforward, then you'll kick yourself for not figuring it out sooner.
No 3D platformer is complete without boss fights, something Razed does exceptionally well. At the end of each world, you'll be greeted by "The Developer", and he's hellbent on destroying you. Each boss course is distinctly different from the last and all extremely hard. You'll be dodging crushers, making seemingly impossible jumps, wall-running and drifting your way through the course. Thankfully, boss levels are only slightly longer than traditional courses, albeit much harder.
As far as replayability, if you're the sort of person who strives to be at the top spot of the leaderboards, Razed is the game for you. You can replay each level and not only aim to improve your course ranking, but also push for that top spot. Some courses also have alternative routes you can take, the majority of the time this is where you'll find upgrade segments I spoke about earlier. These are off the beaten path and will test your skill to obtain, so it's inevitable that you'll miss some of these paths on your first playthrough.
Razed has a unique presentation, described by Warpfish as "Neon infused, low poly". Bright, vivid and bold colours make this simple 3d platformer something unique. The studio has done a phenomenal job turning this "low poly" art style into something truly breathtaking. It's something you can't appreciate by watching launch trailers or gameplay videos; you need to experience it for yourself.
Games from this genre rely heavily on their soundtrack, after all, the gameplay is so simplistic it needs to be accompanied by pulse-pounding audio to get the adrenaline pumping. Thankfully, Razed achieves this majority of the time. There were occasions where I found myself genuinely frustrated with the soundtrack, it didn't fit the on-screen action or just didn't set the tone at all, but this occurs reasonably infrequently. It's evident that a lot of love and time went into producing the soundtrack for Razed, and the developers deserve praise for that.
This genre isn't usually one that I follow. Sometimes a game pops up that I'll pick up and thoroughly enjoy, such as Bit Trip Runner and all of its successors. I'll be honest, when asked about reviewing Razed, I had to do some research, I had no idea what it was, whom it was developed or published by, but I'm thrilled I did. Razed may not have a big budget or a well-known studio behind it, but it deserves to be mentioned alongside some of the best in the genre. Would I recommend this to casual gamers? Probably not, it's challenging and requires replaying the same level multiple times so can fast become very time-consuming.If you're a fan of the genre or a hardcore gamer who tends to play everything, like me, then this game is perfect for you. Sure, it'll frustrate you, anger you and make you rage quit, but it will pull you right back in with its addictive gameplay, excellent soundtrack and sense of achievement when you finally beat that level.