REVIEWER’S NOTE: This review of Formula Fusion is based on Early Access build version 0.5.373. Corecade will be reviewing the game again in the future once/if the game leaves Early Access.
Shortly before launching Formula Fusion for the first time, I was reminded of the childhood excitement I had each time I sat down to play the anti-gravity racer Wipeout on the PlayStation One. Memories of anti-gravity racing in a then distant-future, which, now I think about it, sparked my everlasting interest in things futuristic and Cyberpunk. I’m not particularly much of a fan of general racing games, but these fast-paced, techno-thumping futuristic racers have become cemented pieces of joy in my life. The last anti-gravity racer I had played before Formula Fusion was Wipeout 2048 for the PlayStation Vita; the final Wipeout game to be released given the saddening closure of Studio Liverpool.
Understandably, I wasn’t sure what to expect jumping into Formula Fusion, I hadn’t followed its development much. The excitement was there, but I was jumping into a completely different game; one in which that is essentially the sister to the beloved series of my childhood, however, it’s in Early Access and may not offer the same amount of features, performance, and overall fun. The question of whether we had both aged and grown distant lingered in my mind. Can R8 Games, a studio that consisted of former Wipeout developers, succeed with this crowd-funded spiritual successor?
As expected with any PC game: upon launching, the first thing to do is check out the graphical settings and ensure they’re all maxed out and pushing your rig to its very limits. To my surprise, Formula Fusion had already adapted to my rig and all settings did not need to be messed with. A nice touch which allowed me to jump into the actual gameplay. Within fifteen minutes of playing, it was clear that R8 Games is developing something very, very special, something that no other has attempted; a clear vision for anti-gravity racing, something that years of hardware limitations had obstructed. That said, Formula Fusion, in its current state, is a hollow shell of what it wants to and can be. There are currently five different tracks to race through, and while that isn’t a whole lot, they are filled with absolutely stunning environments.
My favourite map, Mannahatta, is shown above. You speed through the bendy track in a distant-future Manhattan, filled with large buildings and colourful neon lights throughout. Heavy rain really sets the tone in this map; making the cockpit view is especially beautiful, with my only complaint there being the rain still falls down your screen despite being in the comfort of your ship.
Gameplay consists of time trials, online races, custom races, and quick races, so you won’t be finding too much depth within the gamemodes just yet — although the developer has clarified that the finished game will receive a full singleplayer mode — therefore the game can feel a bit stale after a short amount of playtime. You are able to customise some aspects of your ship, improving its durability through sharp turns, to the effectiveness of its weaponry. Cosmetic customisation feels almost essential, but is not available.
In regards to performance, Foruma Fusion runs beautifully on my build. I experienced no crashes, graphical glitches, or framerate issues – with a constant silky smooth 60FPS regardless of the track and speed in which I was racing at. The game feels like an Early Access game should: performance and accessibility in mind with constant updates to its features. Ensuring the game is ironed out and produced as best as it possibly can be.
In conclusion, I’m very excited to see how R8 Games continues to develop the game. Its anti-gravity racer is a genre that had previously died and deserves to be revived into the latest generation of hardware. I can’t help but believe the game, with it’s cockpit view, is perfect for VR adaptation, when that market has also established itself. In the meantime, I can definitely recommend the game, but only if you aware of its current state.