Coffin Dodgers Xbox One Review
Puts a focus on humor
Reminds everyone that they will all eventually die
Unbalanced gameplay, loose controls, dumb weapons
Looping music that is super loud
Old People Are Gonna Die –
Coffin Dodgers is a poor man’s Mario Kart clone that tries to put humor in front of gameplay. Death, in his hooded cape and scythe, visits a retirement community to start claiming some lives. However, the old people banner together and come at Death with a proposal – let’s settle this with a cart race where the losers die first. For whatever reason Death accepts, because, you know, he is in a position to make deals with the living. So the geriatrics start pimping out their scooters for a death race, literally.
When the game isn’t making fun of old people in a morbid way, the player is treated to an unbalanced mess of a racer. Like Mario Kart and many other racers, power-ups and weapons can be picked up throughout each track. Unfortunately, the weapons that are obtained usually don’t make sense and there are no weapons to help the last place player like the lightning bolt or blue shell. For example, when in first place I would repeatedly get the missile item that can only be shot forward. When I was in last place I would continually get oil slicks that only attack racers behind me. Also, the AI is pretty ruthless. Once you are in last place, you will probably stay there from lack of powerful and even entertaining items or power-ups. The Uzi-gun weapon also doesn’t even do anything and the always-available cane-whacking melee attack requires such a high level of precision it basically comes down to luck.
Here’s a Let’s Play of me playing through some Coffin Dodgers:
It is a bummer that the weapon system is such a hot disaster as this is a highlighting feature of most arcadey racers but also the play control cannot be ignored. The loose control makes it seem like the player is always driving on ice. Even after playing for a few hours, I was not able to adjust to the loose control. Further, the cast of retired people is only cosmetic; one driver doesn’t specialize in acceleration, top speed, handling, etc; they are all the same performance-wise. There are purchasable upgrades but each unlock takes a lot of time and effort. Stranger yet, coins are used to buy upgrades but the experience point system doesn’t seem to have any effect whatsoever. After each race, the game tallies up gold and experience points but experience points are just there. They do not actually do anything and cannot be used to unlock anything.
The track design also suffers, is boring, and much too samey. Every stage is basically a new path throughout the retirement community so expect to see the same cartoony houses, streets and colors. Outside of just a few exceptions like a sewer or graveyard, each stage is also flat, lacks anything fun like jumps or loops, and doesn’t even have environmental hazards or boosters. Combine this with the looping soundtrack that is way to freaking loud and annoying animal sound effects, the player will quit before the final lap… that is, if you can even make it that far thanks to the high and unfair difficulty.
When not playing through the main campaign mode, the player has the option to drive free roam, which is pointless, participate in Time Trials that do NOT get uploaded to a leaderboard, or can play a mini game to collect one item in rapid succession as a clock constantly counts down. There is no online multiplayer but there is a local split-screen option. There just isn’t a lot of meat on the bone here.
For $12.99, it isn’t fair to expect great things from an out-of-nowhere racer geared around mortality. While the humor aspect is appreciated, the old people dying joke gets old after two seconds and the gameplay just doesn’t make any sense. At one point, Death asks the player if they want to be buried or cremated when a race is lost. Instead, it’d be better to just sell your soul to not have to play this game.
Not As Good As: Mickey’s Speedway USA
On Par With: Homie Rollers
Also Try: buying the 2DS with Mario Kart 7 bundle for $67 more than the cost of this game
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com