Futuristic racers are making a big comeback now, and Cologne is the latest in a series of titles that want to bring back the ol’ F-Zero vibe to racing games. Cologne is more stripped down, however, having more in common with arcade titles you can play on your phone than fully fledged racers. However, arcade titles can still be just as engaging. Let’s see how Cologne holds up.
Firstly, Cologne is a racer in which you move through a tube, rolling all around and collecting power-ups as you go. The problem is, the movement is not entirely precise, and the controls feel a bit floaty. The physics engine in Cologne can take some getting used to, as turning feels slow at times and jumping is awkward (you shoot up and then shoot right back down instead of moving in an arc). The game is pretty rough around the edges, all things considered, so don’t expect much polish. Visually it’s pretty basic (albeit very colorful) and menus and UI’s are fairly spartan. The music, as with many indies, is actually pretty cool, so if you like racing to thumping beats you’re gonna enjoy this one.
One thing I found really strange is that every time a level starts there’s this unskippable sequence where they show you the tube from the outside. Like, the camera pans all over and shows you the tube from all the angles and it’s all very impressive and then you can start racing. The game is pretty hardcore indie all around, but once you get into the flow of it there’s some fun to be had.
Inside the tube, you can pick up boost and repair your vehicle if you run into obstacles (you will) but perhaps the coolest feature is the way the screen distorts when you smack into obstacles. It starts showing cracks like it’s shattering glass, and your vision becomes blurrier. On the whole, the game is about managing your speed, fuel, and heat levels, and it can get pretty intense in later levels.
But the thing is, levels just feel like they go on far too long. The game just doesn’t have a good enough sense of pacing or a way to mix things up. On the whole, however, Cologne is pretty lacking in polish and not really a great value at its $10 price point.
Cologne was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the full game provided by Nheno Games. The game was tested on a PC running Windows 10, with an 8GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 16GB of RAM. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published (click here for more information about our review policy).
• Vibrant pixel art
• Variety of power-ups
• Creative boss designs
• Good level pacing
• The wild west setting feels unoriginal
• Challenge level spikes
• Feels too similar to Bomberman at times