Onrush is the new driving game from a team in Codemasters made up of former-Evolution Studios employees, the team that produced the Sony exclusive Driveclub (any time this writer mentions Driveclub, the water effects on the windscreen will ALWAYS be mentioned, they really were quite good). While it is a difficult thing to quantify, Onrush is almost exactly the opposite of Driveclub.

Onrush preview
This sort of looks like fun.

being first is of no benefit and instead may serve to make the player a target

Not a Racing Game

Onrush is not a racing game, being first is of no benefit and instead may serve to make the player a target. Anytime the player falls too far behind or unceremoniously crashes into a tree, wall or giant rock they are transported back to the middle of the pack. Onrush is a unique experience which is good and bad, good because it (very) occasionally makes for some interesting gameplay and bad because now this writer has to expend some words explaining Onrush.

onrush preview
Onrush is so boring I am struggling to even caption these screenshots.

each vehicle has a different rush ability and all of them make the destruction of other players’ vehicles a little bit easier

Boosting About

Onrush is a team based car combat game where both teams speed around very simplistic tracks accompanied by constantly respawning cannon fodder AI vehicles. These AI vehicles can be smashed quite easily to build up boost. Boost is necessary for success in Onrush and can be built up in many ways, aside from the destruction of AI vehicles, going over jumps and obtaining ‘mad air’, near misses with other vehicles, navigating some of the obstacles that litter the track and taking out players from the other team all build up a players boost. As soon as a player has built up enough boost they can unleash their rush ability, each vehicle has a different rush ability and all of them make the destruction of other players’ vehicles a little bit easier.

Onrush Preview
Dune buggies vs slightly different coloured dune buggies, the struggle continues

Onrush seems like a game that will have a lot of trouble finding an audience and even more trouble maintaining it

Boring game is Boring

In this beta there are 4 vehicle types the player can choose from, there’s a motorcycle, a dune buggy, a slightly larger dune buggy and finally, a much larger dune buggy… what I’m saying is, the vehicle roster isn’t very exciting. From what is visible in the menu there will be another four vehicles available in the main game. There are also two game modes available for interested players (or people given a code and told to write several hundred words) to try out.

Onrush preview
You do feel exposed on the motorcycles but their rush ability is very powerful

First up is a checkpoint based mode where teams compete to pass through as many gates as they can, the other mode on offer here tasks players with boosting and rushing more than the other team. The checkpoint mode is a standout here as there are chokepoints which encourage players to wreck the vehicles of the other team and lead to some excitement which the boost mode is sorely lacking.

Onrush makes a very strong first impression however, it quickly becomes clear that this is a shallow game.

Simplistic to the Point of Insultingly Easy

The handling for the vehicles on offer is virtually identical and there is a great sense of speed, however the tracks are certainly not challenging to anyone with at least one, half functioning thumb. That doesn’t matter however because as stated at the beginning of this preview being first is meaningless.

Onrush preview
The screenshot that best sums up my experience with Onrush

Onrush makes a very strong first impression with a fun soundtrack and action packed gameplay, however, it quickly becomes clear that this is an extremely shallow game. When I got my first takedown on an enemy player, this writer felt a slight flutter of a feeling reminiscent of those the Burnout titles used to elicit. Onrush is unfortunately not on the same level as Burnout; in fact it only took around an hour for Onrush to wear out its welcome.

Maybe the full release might even be good, right now though, that seems like an impossibility

Maybe the full release will be worth getting… (That’s a joke)

Of course this is a beta and the small print on the title screen assures the player that the full game will probably be better, or at least strongly implies it. Perhaps the full release has a few game modes that won’t become stale after the 4th or 5th time around. Maybe the full release will also have some tracks that require a degree of skill to navigate. Maybe the full release might even be good, right now though, that seems like an impossibility. Onrush seems like a game that will have a lot of trouble finding an audience and even more trouble maintaining it. Ugh, I hope I’m not made review it on June 5th. (Gaming Editor: I was genuinely going to ask you)