New Star GP is a F1 Styled top down racer that is both fun and surprisingly deep at the same time. Modelled unofficially on the 2010 season, the game features bold and crisp graphics that remind me of MiniRacingOnline or an early Micro Machines game but styled specifically for F1. 24 cars and drivers are available to choose from and there are mods out there for different F1 seasons and correct name spellings for everything (Timo Glick anyone?).
The crux of the gameplay is simple – to win. The controls are arcade to the extreme, you’ll skid around most corners flat-out if you learn the track and can get the aiming right every time. The cars are however very prone to damage and with 23 other cards pounding round a track that can be completed in 30-40 seconds in most cases, your races will be extremely busy avoiding everyone else. Also available is fuel which noticeably makes the cars heavier and slower, tyre degradation and kers (a small power boost button). These along with a nifty and surprisingly powerful slipstream effect make the game frantic , very tactical and surprisingly deep. You’ll want to (and often attempt to) overtake as many cars as possible to start off with but usually you’ll be battered around by the other cars and have to limp back to the garage for repairs. You can also have the weather change during a race too and if you’ve decided to go for a 60 lap race you’ll more than likely have it rain once during the event.
Single player offers a career mode where you are rated based on your results and then offered different drives for the following year. Fantastically all the drivers move in the market so that can throw up some fun surprises for pretend 2011 teams! That said the career mode is shallow because the boss will only be happy if you win with the top teams, he’ll grumble at a 2nd or 3rd and then you’ll get offered a poor drive the following season. Still, it’s a welcome mode that adds another layer to the game. There is also an online race mode to team up against other races although I’ve yet to try this out in practice. I could imagine small leagues having a field day though.
For myself there’s only one down side to the whole game and that revolves around the fuel. You need to guesstimate how much you need per race on a bar graph that doesn’t fill up in tiny portions. Therefore you can end up significantly overfueled or just slightly underfueled and there’s not a lot you can do about it. That then feels very unfair when you realise you have to pit again because you’re having to blindly guess your fuel every time.
~Absolutely fantastic arcade gameplay
~Surprising amount of extra features should you want much more depth to your racer
~23 AI competitors on a budget game is no meagre achievement
~Guessing the fuel and weather is frustrating
Fuel aside, this is a classic top down racer. Along with Super Laser Racer, New Star have really produced two fine racers that deserve to be on any petrol heads games list. Grab the trial to see for yourself!