- Updated on September 22, 2022

There is a small but noticeable branch of the car simulation genre: racing, where destruction is at the forefront – both the cars themselves and the environment. The most famous representative of such entertainment is, of course, the FlatOut series. A well-developed physical model, various tracks with many items to destroy, a peppy soundtrack, memorable scenes with a driver flying out of the windshield – these races simply could not help but become cult.

The finale of this story, however, is sad – after the masterpiece FlatOut 2, the third part turned out to be simply terrible: 19% of positive reviews on Steam speak for themselves. The fourth and final game in the franchise for today did not come out much better – which is not surprising, given the change in developer. The authors of the first two parts of FlatOut, Bugbear Entertainment, no longer worked on the series, but they released a decent Wreckfest dedicated to the same survival races.

Since then, there has been a lull in the genre, which the little-known developer GOOD BOYS dared to interrupt: a small team of our compatriots decided to create their own FlatOut. What came of it – read in our review.

Krinzh is good!

As a rule, the plot in racing arcades is a secondary thing. But without a story, it’s somehow not comme il faut – which is why in racing the plot often amuses with ridiculous staging of scenes. In TRAIL OUT, the developers decided to be guided by the old proven principle “If you can’t win, lead” and consciously adopted the cringe as the main way of presenting the plot.

The main character’s name is Mikhalych, his appearance matches his name – this is an unremarkable middle-aged man. Nevertheless, already at the beginning of the introductory video, he appears in the image of the nameless hero Ryan Gosling (Ryan Gosling) from the movie “Drive”, and after a while he parodies another scene with the participation of this famous actor – from “Blade Runner 2049”.

“Toothpick?” Mikhalych has a small wardrobe where you can change your character’s clothes. Skins of The Dude from The Big Lebowski and that same nameless driver from Drive are available.

And there are a lot of such references to films and games here – starting with car models and ending with the appearance of Mikhalych’s rivals and associates. Each of them parodies a common stereotype: Ivan Komrad is a cross between a KGB officer and a typical representative of the “Russian mafia”, Big Cheese is exactly like Big Smoke from GTA: San Andreas, Joe Boomer is a redneck driving a huge jeep painted in colors American flag. You finally realize all the frivolity of what is happening with the appearance on the stage of Zhenya, a mechanic and friend of Mikhalych: this is the same Zh-12 ​​from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and no one around is surprised by his extravagant image with a gas mask on his head.

Meet Eugene.

Meet Eugene.

It’s not for nothing that I pay so much attention to the secondary, in my own words, part of the game. The trash that we see was created consciously (albeit, as it seems to me, because of the overall budget of the project), so you soon even begin to enjoy such uncomplicated humor. Yes, kringe, but what!

Against this background, claims to other aspects of the game fade: what’s the point of scolding the race for trash, if the authors themselves do not hide that we are more of a hooligan trick than a serious project?

Festival of Madness

The above does not mean at all that TRAIL OUT is bad as a car simulator. The races themselves are worthy of comparison with the same FlatOut 2 – if you forget that the latter came out a decade and a half ago.

So, Mikhalych sets off to conquer America – the largest racing festival starts there, to win which you need to defeat seven opponents from the “black list” (another reference, this time to NFS: Most Wanted). Career mode is a step-by-step progression along the same list: in order to challenge the next boss, you need to take a prize in several preparatory races and gain the required number of fans, the number of which increases due to actions during the race.

Boss battles are a separate headache. For example, I was able to defeat Joe Boomer only after several hours of unsuccessful attempts.

Boss battles are a separate headache. For example, I was able to defeat Joe Boomer only after several hours of unsuccessful attempts.

Mikhalych can buy new cars, upgrade existing ones, improve the garage, and even chat with fans. Tuning cars is nothing special – just a gradual improvement of the parts of the car from the engine to the suspension. It’s worth experimenting with options only in the case of a hull: a more durable one reduces speed, but is useful in a derby where you need to damage other cars.

All races, with rare exceptions, take place with the same opponents from the black list, who always ride the same cars. This, of course, does not add variety, but the developers are trying to get out due to the number of modes – there are 10 of them, except for unique boss fights. In addition to the usual time trials, there are crossroads races, one-class car competitions, two types of derbies, the hunt for nameless drivers who serve as victims, a survival race in which every 20 seconds the last racer is blown up by a rocket, and, finally, two mini-games with by the driver departing from the car – darts and bowling.

In addition to passing a career, there is an opportunity to try your hand at free races – here the player independently chooses the mode and track. Helps to distract from unsuccessful attempts to defeat the next boss and earn some money and fans. The game is quite difficult, especially at the very beginning, when there is not enough money for a normal car. For some races, I had to spend far more than one attempt, and even unscrewing the AI ​​difficulty slider to zero did not save me. Then it was already easier – there was experience and finances, allowing you to buy a car more abruptly.

Crush and break

To learn all the turns and dangerous places of the next track in order to finally reach the finish line among the winners – in TRAIL OUT this is in the order of things. On the one hand, this gives pleasure from a successfully completed race, on the other hand, given the frequent repetition of the same tracks, somewhere in the middle of a career, driving along the same routes with the same rivals gets boring.

Races at crossroads are the most fun - you can lose the lead just a few meters from the finish line.

Races at crossroads are the most fun – you can lose the lead just a few meters from the finish line.

The physics of cars is not the most advanced, but within the framework of a racing arcade, where destruction comes first, it is done with dignity. But there is something to complain about – for example, collision modeling is annoying, in particular, the obsessive desire of cars to climb a wall or a bump stop when entering a turn using the well-known “slow down on an obstacle” technique.

Damage to cars is not only visual - you can break the engine or be left without a wheel.

Damage to cars is not only visual – you can break the engine or be left without a wheel.

As for the very destruction, everything is in order with this – on each track there are a lot of collapsing objects, collisions with which replenish the stock of the nitro booster. Objects scatter into small pieces, and cars crumple and lose parts so provocatively that sometimes one skeleton without doors and a hood reaches the finish line. The zest is added by the design of the locations: how do you like the battle on Grove Street, for example?

Last but not least, the music. Basically, these are songs of the French rock band ONLAP. The set of compositions is not too large and will surely get bored during the passage. I don’t undertake to evaluate the music itself – it’s not at all mine. But the similarity with the FlatOut soundtrack cannot be overlooked, and the music is praised in user reviews.

TRAIL OUT is nothing but a clone of FlatOut. Is it bad? Not at all – despite the frankly budget performance, the developers had the courage to admit this fact, and the way they fool around with the game in terms of plot brightens up the shortcomings. Not a hack, but “as intended”, not a lack of experience, but a deliberate trash, funny precisely for its spontaneity.

However, if we ignore the adventures of Mikhalych and consider the game only from the point of view of racing, there is everything you need here – cars, tracks, destruction and difficult rivals. The only thing missing is multiplayer, but the developers promise to fix this oversight by the end of the year.

Pluses: destructibility of cars and locations; soundtrack in the style of FlatOut; funny story with lots of references and easter eggs.

Cons: overestimated complexity at the beginning of a career; unassuming graphics.

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