Review – Race With Ryan

A few months ago I watched a trailer for this upcoming game called Race With Ryan. It left me with tons of questions like: who greenlit it? Why does it look like an upscaled version of what you’d usually see in the later years of the PS1’s life cycle? But more than anything else, I was asking myself who the freaking hell was Ryan, and why did he have a game of his own? I then found out that this eight year old “toy reviewer” is literally the single most successful current YouTuber out there, whose channel has amassed a mind-boggling THIRTY-TWO BILLION VIEWS ever since 2015. He made twenty-two million dollars in 2018 alone. He’s eight. What were YOU doing back when you were his age? Well… I was surely playing better games than this.

ryan5

These visuals would have been dope back in the Atari Jaguar era.

Race With Ryan looks like a seminal licensed title that could have been released a decade before the titular character’s actual date of birth. Remember when every single licensed game in the late stages of the PS1’s life cycle was a cheap and underwhelming Mario Kart clone? That’s exactly what Race With Ryan is. A really bad kart racer boasting really cheap production values. It’s aimed at the absolute youngest of audiences, but still old enough to enjoy something much better, like the aforementioned Mario Kart itself. Hey, back when I was eight I was having a blast playing Mario Kart 64 and Lego Racers.┬áKids nowadays can easily have as much fun with them as well!

I’ll give the game credit for one thing: its gameplay isn’t bad. Generic and uninspired, absolutely, but not awful. It plays exactly like a cheap Mario Kart knockoff: B accelerates, A brakes, L shoots items, and R makes you jump and drift. Drifting for a while grants you a small boost. Tracks feature multiple routes and a handful of items, making the overall gameplay feel chaotic, but unlike the controlled chaos in Mario Kart, it feels like borderline kindergartner anarchy in here, as you can get any item in any position. There’s no balancing in here: you can basically spend an entire race behind everyone else and never get a single offensive item, for instance.

ryan3

There’s absolutely no item balancing in here. You may end up only getting shields even if you’re in last place.

Playing the game is frustrating, but functional. Still, that’s by far the best Race With Ryan has to offer. Things go downhill pretty quickly, to the point you’ll dig through the Earth’s core and reach China once you start paying attention at its production values. Oh boy, they’re bad.

The graphics are terrible. Cheap assets, near nonexistent animations, simplistic textures, and a complete lack of post-processing effects, such as shadows, are available on the menu. Race With Ryan would be considered an ugly game even by PS1 standards. At the very least, it manages to maintain a stable framerate, but that’s the bare minimum it should be able to do with such non-demanding visuals. While the track design isn’t awful, the way they are decorated couldn’t have been more generic in a game aimed at small children. The tracks include: bedrooms, theme parks, big blocks, basically everything a forty year old would assume a small child would like. Were you still playing with blocks at the age of eight? I sure wasn’t.

ryan2

No matter what you end up doing while racing, you’ll be greeted with Ryan talking nonsense at all times, as well as his cardboard picture.

The biggest offender in here, by far, is the sound design. This is bad. This is really bad. Think of the most generic soundtrack you can think of, then compress that soundtrack to the point it sounds like the low-quality MP3 tunes you’d download from Limewire fifteen years ago. If only that was the only problem, though…

The titular Ryan talks a lot during the whole game. When I say “a lot”, I truly mean A LOT. Everything features his voice, from whenever you put the cursor on top of a menu option, to whenever you do anything in a race. Picked up an item? Ryan shows up and shouts something. Used an item? Ryan shows up and shouts something. Overtook someone? Ryan shows up and shouts something. Someone overtook you? You get the point. Other characters do the same if you decide to play with them, but let’s face it, in a game like this (if you decide to play a game like this), you’ll probably stick with Ryan, and with that, you’ll be forced to hear poorly mixed voice clips of an eight year old pretending to be excited about this endeavor. There are also a few clips featuring him, in the flesh, probably to make the little ones shout in excitement that their own rockstar occasionally shows up on their Switch’s screen.

ryan4

There is a shield item, which is useless, and a hamburger shield item, which is still useless.

I think just about everyone was expecting for Race With Ryan to be a bad game, and even though there were maybe one or two things about it that ended up being less abysmal than expected, I can’t recommend this to anyone. If you’re a small kid who wants to play a family-friendly kart racer on the Switch, you can play Mario Kart, Team Sonic Racing, CTR, and many other options. Paying forty bucks for a poorly made racing game starring a YouTuber who still has his milk teeth isn’t exactly the best of investments. This might be aimed at the little ones, but even they have standards.

 

Graphics: 3.0

Even though the framerate is much better than what I was expecting (as in, it’s a stable 30fps), the overall graphics are just as good as a licensed title from the PS1 era.

Gameplay: 5.5

A very simplistic control scheme based off Mario Kart. It does what it’s supposed to do, but it’s extremely basic and generic.

Sound: 1.0

Race With Ryan made me feel really grateful about the inclusion of a “mute” function on my television. The soundtrack is bland and heavily compressed, and the kid won’t stop talking, be it in the menus or during the races.

Fun Factor: 3.0

It’s not exactly a technically disastrous and utterly broken game, but Race With Ryan is so bland and uninspired that I doubt even its target audience will enjoy playing it. Especially since they’re old enough to play something much better, like Mario Kart.

Final Verdict: 3.5

Race With Ryan is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Race With Ryan was provided by the publisher.

Advertisements