PAX East 2011: Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine Hands-On

In: Articles by Leah "WhiteGodiva" Haydu

13 Mar 2011

Realistic racers with realistic cars don’t appeal to me very much. If I’m going to drive around a track during my gaming time, I want stuff to blow up every once in a while.

Seems like a reasonable request, right?

Developer Isopod Labs and publisher Autumn Games oblige my taste for virtual fiery doom with their upcoming kart racer, Jimmy Johnson’s Anything With An Engine. When starting up a new race, the first thing you’ll notice is that your average, generic racing car is nowhere to be found. In the two rounds that I played, I raced a giant bomb, followed by a shopping cart.

In addition to the array of unconventional vehicles you can choose from, there are also many track options available, as well as different racing modes ranging from standard, who-finishes-first competitions to more unique modes like Matador, where half of the cars start facing in one direction and half in the other; all still share the same goal, but they’re going head-to head at the same time.

As in most kart racers, Anything With An Engine doesn’t go easy on its players once they make it onto the track. A variety of hazards await, such as dynamic track features. One track I raced on had huge waves that washed closer and closer to the cars with each lap. Your opponents themselves present the most dangerous factor, however, because they — and you — are armed with different weapons that get progressively more powerful as the race goes on. You can earn missiles, mines, and side-rams, each of which can be upgraded multiple times, so that you can attack and defend from all sides.

All hope isn’t lost if you happen to become a target, however, because your kart can also make use of pit stops located along the track. If you pull in to one and mash the B button as quickly as possible, you will recover the durability of your kart and live to race another day. Just don’t run into a trap as soon as you leave the pit, like I did.

Of course, as in any other racing game, the multiplayer looks to be the best part. Anything With An Engine takes things a step beyond most, though, by allowing combinations of on- and off-line players to join in groups of up to eight for races. Most racers will allow either one or the other, so this looks to be a welcome addition.

If you’re looking for a game to play with friends, or if you just enjoy kart-style racing games, keep an eye out for this quirky, fun title. Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine should be hitting XBLA and PSN and available on retail disk for Wii this summer.

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2 Responses to PAX East 2011: Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine Hands-On

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Holy Goalie

March 13th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Yeah that was a unique racing game. Reminded me of a pinball game. I only played it for a couple of minutes. Didn’t get to see all the cool things.

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Uncle Chas

March 14th, 2011 at 10:10 am

When I first read the title of this, I wasn’t surprised that NASCAR’s 5 times in a row champion was putting his name on a racing game, but I thought for sure it would be a straight up racer with a wide variety of veicheles to choose from. Maybe start at go-karts, move to midget then sprint cars, then some trucks, some street cars, some off-road races, some motorcycles, some boats. maybe a plane at the end.

but reading this review, WOW. please tell me there are pedestrians that can be hit (at least in the pits) and my carmegeddon inspired joy will be complete

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