There are plenty of wacky racing games available on the PlayStation Store, but none have been combined with soccer-themed combat. Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars blazes new territory and lets you play a variation of soccer with up to eight remote-controlled cars simultaneously. While the game looks great and is fun to play at times, its limited appeal makes it a questionable value proposition. Though there is some fun to be had here, the game is ultimately frustrating because you're forced to use a car to play a ball game, which is something that it's neither designed nor equipped for.
While Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars is possibly the longest game title on the PlayStation 3, it doesn't describe what the game is essentially all about: soccer with remote-controlled cars. To get the giant-sized ball into the opposing team's goal, you'll need to bump, nudge, and smash into it with your car. The vehicles are surprisingly manoeuvrable, and you can perform powerslides, jumps, flips, spins, or boosts. You can even fly for brief moments by jumping and using the rocket-powered boosters. There are very few rules in the game--the idea is simply to score more goals than the opposition before the end of each three-minute game.
Arenas offer variations on a standard soccer pitch, and each one is surrounded by a curved glass dome that you can drive up, like a halfpipe. Not only is this fun, but it also allows you to strategically intercept the ball before it reaches the ground or simply avoid other players. You receive small boosts by driving over pads on the pitch and completely fill your boost meter by collecting special capsules. Not only does boosting let you drive faster, but you can use it to fly for short distances. While the game has none of the power-ups or weapons you might expect from a vehicular action game, such as missiles, lasers, or rockets, you can still destroy enemy vehicles by holding down the boost button for a few seconds (which causes you to go supersonic) and then ramming them. The gameplay gets really hectic as you try to take out other competitors while controlling the ball, and it's entertaining when played in short bursts.
The single-player mode consists of 20 minigame challenges, 13 tournaments, and a tutorial. It won't take a long time to complete each mode, but it will take you a while to earn the highest ranking for each event. The tutorial gives you a good overview of the controls, and the minigames are pretty fun to complete while unlocking additional car models. Tournaments comprise individual matches that increase in difficulty and are unlocked as you complete them. Each one differs slightly from the last in terms of the number of players, the map selection, and difficulty. Unfortunately, there's no way to create a custom match or multiround tournament. While you can collect rewards and earn PS3 trophies, there's little longevity to the single-player campaign once you've completed the tournaments. The game's novelty wears off before long, and some more varied gameplay options would definitely be welcome.
There is a good amount of variety in the nicely-detailed levels, with themes that include a soccer stadium, a spaceship, an inner-city warehouse, and a pirate ship, but the choice is restricted to a measly six maps. Meanwhile, there are only seven vehicles to choose from, and because the differences between them are primarily aesthetic it really just comes down whether you prefer a dune buggy, a hot rod, or a monster truck.
Supersonic's challenge doesn't come down to the difficulty of AI opponents as much as your inability to control the ball with any real precision with the tools you've been given. While the controls feel tight and responsive, there's a limit to how well you can manoeuvre your vehicle, and trying to maintain possession is a difficult proposition. The result is a mixture of frustration and amusement, but more often than not, a resultant goal comes down to dumb luck rather than skill. The ball physics don't help things because the ball bounces around far too slowly, much like an inflatable beach ball. Ultimately, while the gameplay is fun and frantic at times, it's also frustrating because you're trying to execute precise moves with a blunt instrument.
Supersonic's challenge doesn't come down to the difficulty of AI opponents as much as your inability to control the ball with any real precision with the tools you've been given. While the controls feel tight and responsive, cars aren't designed to be used in a game of soccer; thus, each player is equally hamstrung in trying to effectively win possession to score. The result is a mixture of frustration and amusement, but more often than not, a resultant goal comes down to dumb luck rather than skill. The ball physics don't help things because the ball bounces around far too slowly, much like an inflatable beach ball. Ultimately, while the gameplay is fun and frantic at times, it's also equally frustrating because you're trying to execute precise moves with a blunt instrument.
While Supersonic's single-player mode is the best place to begin, what replay value there is can be found in the multiplayer mode. Playing with real opponents is far more challenging and rewarding than going up against the AI opponents. Supersonic supports up to four players in local split-screen matches and up to eight players in online matches. There are only a few basic gameplay options to choose from when setting up a match though, and the long-term appeal takes a nosedive when you realise that you've exhausted most of them after playing only a handful of games. The frame rate struggles to keep up in split-screen games as well, which is unfortunate.
There's some fun to be had in the replay mode, which lets you view, record, and export videos to the XrossMediaBar or to YouTube. The included editing tools are easy to use, and the end results look good, although rather pixelated when viewed in the XMB. Ambient noises are also absent from the audio in replays, which detracts from the atmosphere somewhat.
Supersonic Acrobat Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars doesn't offer a great deal of variety when it comes to gameplay, and while it is enjoyable to play at times, it just isn't all that appealing to use a remote-controlled car to play soccer. This game doesn't mesh racing and soccer together into a rewarding package, and there are better-valued games available on the PlayStation Network.