I think I’ve finally figured out why I like racing games so much: they are good pallette cleansers. In a world full of similar first-person shooters, platformers, and open-world games, racing titles often times help me get away from the tired and the mundane, as much as I like the aforementioned genres. Not only that, but most racing games often times have a “catch”; something to set themselves apart from other genres. In Redout it’s the game’s fast-paced races, while in Gran Turismo it’s the game’s visuals. This, unfortunately, brings me to Gear.Club Unlimited, which I’m sad to say doesn’t do any of that, or anything special really.
In Gear.Club Unlimited, players can participate in a few different types of races across a number of different tracks and locations. If that doesn’t sound very specific at all then that was intentional, because the game does not do a very good job of explaining what is even going on to the character. There’s absolutely no narrative, no exposition of where you are or why your racing, hell, each map is only titled incredibly basic names like High Village or Countryside Tour. Now, do racing games need a long gripping narrative like The Last of Us or something of that nature? Absolutely not, but players deserve to be told small amounts of information, even if it’s just a more descriptive track names.
Let’s start with some things that I really loved about Gear.Club Unlimited, and that is the cars themselves. First and foremost, I want to commend Eden Games for getting the license for real-life brands. It’s not necessarily a major accomplishment, and should honestly be a staple for realistic racing games, however, let it never be said that I don’t give credit where credit is due.
Another high note is that, while the tracks themselves don’t look great, the cars look absolutely fantastic, especially for a Switch game. I honestly stared at the opening cinematic of each race, which gives players a look at the car they’re driving, for a good five minutes one time because of how impressed I was with the visuals. This is very indicative of what the Switch can do, and I’d be curious to see what developers can come up with visually in the future.
Unfortunately, this is where my compliments and praise comes to an end. As I said above, the main problem with Gear.Club Unlimited, is the fact that it doesn’t do anything special at all. Sure, some of the cars look nice, but they pale in comparison to other realistic racing games like Gran Turismo or Forza. There are no special and fun upgrades I can put on my car, there are no interesting locals, and there’s no fun gameplay. It’s just bland.
After each race, players earn credits based on how they performed, which can then be used to purchase new cars, engines, and other accessories. First off, each upgrade barely does anything. I didn’t notice a change in performance at all, and I upgraded my Camaro a ton of times. On top of that, none of it really matters because Gear.Club Unlimited is insanely easy. I was able to get three stars for each and every one of my races on my first pass as a relatively amateur racing gamer.
Each race follows the same basic format: you start, and all of the other cars fly ahead of you. The problem is that they all seem to be consistently going the same speed, so after about 20 seconds, you’ll start to pull ahead of each of them. The next thing you know, you’re miles ahead of the AI, and you’ve easily won the race.
Another major problem with the title is the fact that it does not include any online multiplayer. If you want to play Gear.Club Unlimited, you’re going to have to do so against either AI or up to four people locally. While it’s nice that Eden Games included split screen, it’s executed weirdly in the fact that instead of pressing the trigger to accelerate like in the single player version, you’ll instead use the right-most face button, even though you still have a trigger available to utilize, even when using just a single Joy-Con.
In terms of controls in the single player, like everything else in Gear.Club Unlimited, they are fine. They work well enough to allow you to control each car pretty easily, but they are nothing spectacular. One thing I did find odd is the drift button. It’s located in a logical place on the controller, but I personally think it needs to be tweaked a lot before it can be utilized properly. It seems incredibly sensitive. That being said, each track is so simple, and each AI is so easy, that you won’t need to use the drift button at all.
Gear.Club Unlimited is not a very good game. It’s not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, but not even it’s impressive car visuals can save it from being just an incredibly average racing game. It honestly feels like there was no love put into this game. At $49.99 I simply cannot recommend this game at the current price tag. The title still feels like a free-to-play game you would find on the Apple App Store more than a fully fledged game, and frankly, that’s all it’s worth to me.