Early Access Gamer: Calibre 10 Racing Series
One of the neat things about early access gaming is the ambition that small developers show in taking unique ideas for a game genre and executing them in, hopefully, interesting ways. In that vein, I recently got a copy of Calibre 10 Racing Series in a bundle from BundleStars and decided to see what the game was all about. If you haven’t heard of Calibre 10 Racing Series before, friend, you are not alone. Really, with the sheer amount of early access games these days, I’m amazed that any of us hear of anything. In any case, Calibre 10 Racing Series (Calibre 10 from here on) is an online racing game that pits four teams of two against each other. The twist? One member of each team controls a turret (really, multiple turrets) trying to gun down the other drivers. My early impressions? Well, there’s quite a lot to like about it, actually. When you start the game, you only have access to a single car and a single track, with multiple cars being listed as unlockable in the future. Calibre 10 actually lists four different vehicles, but you have to save money to buy the additional vehicles by playing games and each vehicle can be upgraded two times by moving up ‘calibres’ (hence the name of the game). It’s a good idea in theory but, as I understand it, players in different calibres do not currently play against each other, meaning that the rather anemic multiplayer population is further subdivided. The good news? Well, there is hope. First, although the game has been updated somewhat sporadically in the past (and not at all for over four months), the developers recently took to the Steam forums to discuss an update for Calibre 10. All of the stuff listed is good: making the drivers and shooters more dependent on each other, smooshing everyone into a single tier, adding a health power-up (before, the cars relied on the turrets using healing on them) and cutting the selectable cars down to a single vehicle (the basic KLOSS) in order to concentrate on fine-tuning a single vehicle at a time and introducing the additional vehicles and calibres over time. If the game can get a player base, the even better news is that it is already quite fun. I’ve not played in a full game yet and have struggled to find other players at times, but Calibre 10 reminds me a bit of the Rush series, including a few alternate tracks here and there (it is not nearly as gonzo as Rush, mind you). The shooting is pretty fun, too, especially once I figured out that I could shoot turrets. So, all-in-all, I’m glad to have Calibre 10 in my library and certainly hope that the playerbase builds in the future. There’s a promising game there, the racing is fun, the concept is good and the game looks darned sharp. But a multiplayer game without multiple players is a tough place to be. If it keeps getting developed in the future and manages to get a dedicated community, there could be good things in store for Calibre 10. Still, at its current $19.99 price tag, it’s hard to recommend for what is there (of course, with early access you are supporting development into the future, but still), but the developers seem to be taking the right steps to try towards making the game better in the future. In any case, I’ve enjoyed it for what it was. It would just be nice if there was a little more of it and some people to play it with.