I didn’t really know what to expect when Onrush arrived on my desk. Looking like a spiritual successor to the excellent Motorstorm series I excitedly dove in expecting a meaty arcade racing experience.
But whilst it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, a duck this is not. I’d hesitate to even call it a ‘racing’ game – but whatever it is I can tell you one thing: it’s bloody brilliant.
Gameplay & Multiplayer:
Onrush is an online-focused suite of multiplayer modes focused on smashing your opponents into bits. Climbing behind the wheels of a bevy of burly vehicles – from musclecars, buggies, monster trucks and 4x4s, and a couple of agile yet fragile motorbikes – sees you take to the varied stages in an effort to wreak vehicular carnage any way you can.
Jumping into a lobby will see a group of players split into two teams, and whilst you’re technically racing around muddy stages and treacherous snow fields taking pole position is usually far from your mind. Instead, Onrush pits your teams against each other in a brutal smash-‘em-up that takes Burnout’s takedowns and cuts away every bit of fat imaginable. You want to score big, you want your team to win, then you’re going to have to learn each vehicles special skills and use them to brutalize your opponents.
Smashing them into guard rails, clipping their rear wheels to send them careening into a canyon or just annihilating them in a t-bone collision feels phenomenal, accentuated by brief, obnoxious sound clips and taunts. Takedowns inject your boost bar with some much needed nitrous, as does grabbing air off ramps, performing tricks like barrel rolls and taking out easy-to-smash ‘fodder’ enemies that constantly spawn in to pepper the tracks, acting like a glorified pickup every time you mercilessly roll over them.
You can use that boost to wreak extra damage, catch up to the pack and build you super meter. Each vehicle boasts a different super that can be activated after using enough boost, from blinding fog spewing out of your tailpipe to take out anyone bringing up the rear (a personal favourite), giving nearby team mates Nitro (for all you healers out there) or placing glowing energy walls for enemies to smash against.
This mix of systems synergises extremely well, rewarding players who can balance all of the above into an addictive loop of risky takedowns and massive rewards. Within my first few matches I was having some of the finest multiplayer action of the year, causing me to whoop and cheer when I obliterated my foes and crying foul when they did the same to me.
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