Published on June 11th, 2015 | by gareth0
Review By Taylor Price
Chariot Wars is a game about racing chariots, but it should not be at all confused with Circus Maximus: Chariot Wars. Besides chariots and the name, Chariot Wars has nothing in common with the original xbox game. Apart from Circus Maximus, blocking out the memory of Heracles: Chariot Racing, and Qvadriga (maybe a few others I’m forgetting), chariot racing is a rather uncommon premise for a video game – and as a racing sim, I think the concept has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, Chariot Wars falls very, very short. I’m going to talk about where things went wrong in 3 categories: gameplay, graphics, story.
The first area is graphics. I noticed immediately when playing that the game was probably not made to scale to different display sizes very well. All of the art in the ‘story’ section was stretched oddly on my display. This was disappointing because the story is told through a comic book style series of drawings, so having the pictures and text distorted really distracted from the plot. I wasn’t very impressed with the graphics in the actual races either – they weren’t horrible, but they weren’t what I would call ‘good’ either. Everything was a bit bland looking, some of the edges of the course would sort of disappear as you passed them, and the animations are repetitive and inaccurate.
I could have overlooked that, however, if the gameplay was actually any good. The controls are very simplistic. WASD for movement, spacebar for boost, and ‘R’ to reset your chariot if you get stuck. When moving left or right, your chariot just sort of shifts direction without any sort of change in animation (which made turning around corners somewhat difficult to gauge). The boost mechanic makes the screen blur a bit, but it doesn’t seem to actually make you go any faster. You end up just passing other chariots slowly as you gain speed. If you make a single mistake (hitting a wall, another chariot, etc) you may as well quit the race, because you can’t catch up again. If you win races, you are rewarded with different characters, horses, and various chariots. Technically I think these are supposed to have different stats, but in practice they are pretty much the same. There is a multiplayer mode as well, but I couldn’t subject any of my friends to a racing match.
Story wise, the cutscenes don’t seem really important. The idea is that there is a mysterious murder you have to solve, but at the same time, you need to take the murdered charioteer’s place in a series of races. Not a very compelling story, and to be honest it is completely unnecessary. It’s got nothing to do with the gameplay. Because of the graphical issues I mentioned earlier, I ended up skipping through the cutscenes pretty quickly… and I definitely didn’t miss out on anything.
All in all, this game is better off as an android game (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Candella.ChariotWars&hl=en) but it is not work the $25 sticker price on Steam. I give it a 1 out of 5 because there was nothing even remotely fun about it. I felt frustrated and bored the whole time I was playing. I can’t recommend it even slightly!