The clock is ticking, and the enemy team is just about to beat us to the score. But I’m not about to give up so easily.
I drive up the side of a mountain to get that extra spin and launch myself into a barrel roll. I land perfectly, my Rush meter fills up and the buggy I’m driving goes full Super Saiyan.
As I zip past a rival truck, I use my Turbulence ability to create a rush of air behind me and send the vehicle flying off track. The risky maneuver pays off, and I score just enough points for my team to win another round of Overdrive.
That is some excellent driving in Onrush, a fast and chaotic arcade racer from Codemasters currently in open beta. I’ve been playing it for a few days now, thanks to the good people at onrushgame, and I have to say – I absolutely love it.
This innovative new driving game brings aspects from competitive shooters and fighting games into the driving genre, and the result is just as good I was hoping it’d be.
Onrush is not technically a racing game. There’s no finish line, no positions, and it doesn’t matter if you’re leading the pack or way in the back.
Last time we talked about the game, it was still unclear what you actually do in the game. But after playing in the open beta this weekend, we know what the game is all about.
In Onrush, you play in teams of six vehicles competing in different game modes. You can pull off tricks and jumps to gain boost, but you also charge up a Rush meter that when full, lets you race at terrifying speeds for a few seconds.
The developers describe Rush as a “ten-second boost that gives you the power to win the game for your team,” and that is incredibly accurate. Unless you rush straight into a tree, that is.
The different game modes give you different goals to complete together as a team. In Overdrive, you have to boost and Rush to score points for your team. In Countdown, both teams race against time and need to drive through gates to keep the timer from reaching zero. Lockdown challenges your precision driving, as you must remain within a moving area to keep scoring points. Switch mode has you surviving in a free-for-all brawl, where every player has three lives, and in each of them, you play as a different vehicle.
The open beta only has the Overdrive and Countdown modes available.
Even though Onrush is a driving game, it is very much inspired by multiplayer first-person shooters like Overwatch. Vehicles all have different classes, and if you crash you quickly get back into the action. You can think about it as a competitive shooter, but with cars.
In the beta, I got to try four out of the eight vehicle classes available: Blade, Vortex, Interceptor, and Titan.
The Blade is an agile bike that leaves a fire trail behind it while Rushing. The Vortex buggy is light and can pull plenty of stunts; it can even whip up a turbulent trail when the Rush meter is full.
The Interceptor car is an all offensive vehicle that gains extra Rush from taking out vehicles. Finally, the Titan truck is a massive and resilient vehicle that can give your teammates an extra shield to protect them from enemy attacks.
I’m personally fond of the Vortex buggy. It feels like every jump is at just the right height to pull off a tight barrel roll, which is very satisfying to do. The Turbulence trail it leaves behind is handy, since you can either overtake other racers and immediately take them out, or use it to prevent others from passing you.
The single-player mode Superstar Practice has a photo mode which lets you freeze time and snap a perfect screenshot. The game itself is beautiful, so pretty much every shot you take is instant wallpaper material. The screenshots you see in this article, by the way, were all taken with the photo mode during the beta.
But it’s the multiplayer mode that makes up for the best part of Onrush. Human opponents are just way more challenging than the AI can ever be, and it makes every match all so unexpected and fun.
Whether it’s that rare one-in-a-million takedown or a team kill, multiplayer is constantly surprising. It’s also where you develop life-long vendettas against players that take you down and go to extreme measures to get revenge. I remember this one time where some player tried to ram me while he was in Rush mode, so I unleashed Rush too and launched us both into a tree. It was so worth it.
The game borrows a bit from the Burnout series, with detailed slow-mo crashes that make it incredibly satisfying to take down another player.
Even if you crash spectacularly, with bits of wood and metal flying all over the place, the game always brings you back into the action in a heartbeat. Since there are little consequences to “dying”, every match is complete chaos, with cars crashing or jumping all around.
Even the music is fantastic, ranging from meditative techno to exhilarating dubstep. It fits naturally with the arcade vibe of the game, and it’s hard to sit still as you blaze through the track.
The Onrush beta is still ongoing on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One until the of May 20, so you still have a day or two to try it for yourself.
Leveling up during the beta nets your cosmetic items in the full game, so be sure to take this competitive driving game for a spin.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.