In general, a good game does not always need to have the best settings and features, but it should at least be of decent quality. This assumption is subjective, but if you’re looking for a case study, Coffin Dodgers is a good example.
For a start, the plot has promise. The Grim Reaper sets his eyes on a village inhabited by seniors and plans to perform a big sweep of souls before hanging his scythe in retirement. In protest, some of the residents band together to strike up a bargain – a challenge to a racing tournament using mobility scooters. If they win, he would have to leave them alone. Seeing that there is no reason for him to lose, the stage is set.
You play as one of seven seniors,each with a typical biography. Regretfully, there is no difference in advantage or skill set between them, other than cosmetic. Regardless of your choice, each of them will have access to the same mobility scooter and melee attack. During the race, you will be able to pick up items to aid you in getting ahead of the rest. The tournament spans over 13 rounds. The first 12 consists of 4 laps, while the final round is shortened to 2.
Each race comprises 8 participants including the Grim Reaper, and the rules will vary. For example, you strive to ensure that you do not fall into the bottom 4 in one race, whereas in another you aim to be in the top 3. It’s not easy in the beginning, but it is possible to achieve over a couple of retries. After a short tutorial, you kick off Story Mode to trigger the tournament. From here on, the game’s shortcomings become more apparent.
First, the track is not without flaws. Expect to perform poorly in your first attempt in each race. Set within Town, Village, Farm and Graveyard areas, there are many tricky bends and corners. Some of the directions are not clear especially when you’re frantically trying to stay ahead. I recommend that you take your time getting to know the course in the first round. You can choose to ‘Try Again’ at the end if you’re not satisfied.
Unfortunately, your performance will also be affected by the camera and frame rate. At certain checkpoints, the camera angle may shift and affect your orientation. This also happens when your racer skids or takes a hit from opponent’s skill powers, causing you to lose any headstart gained. To make matters worse, there is no option to ‘Restart Race’ midway.
My advice is to stay within the Village stage and keep retrying the race. Depending on your ranking at the end of each race, you earn XP and Gold coins. There is no significance in clocking XP points other than a possible correlation to the amount of Gold coins earned. If so, then this feels like a bad communication of the progress. It’s hilarious because during Tutorial mode, you are advised to avoid obstacles but the inevitable encounters during races seems to encourage such collisions so as to garner more coins.
If you somehow choose to proceed to the next race, your progress for previous races are locked, which means you cannot go back to retry for a better reward. The only way to do this is to replay ‘Story Mode’ from the beginning. Such bad design wastes time.
Luckily, your mobility scooter upgrades continue to follow through, and I recommend going for the scooter and engine upgrade early on. Once you switch to the best performance vehicle, staying ahead during races becomes much easier.
Visually, the graphics is not like what is seen on trailers and cover art. Instead, they are akin to PS1/PS2 quality. To have such standard in 2016/2017 certainly ranks the game lower against many indie games on PlayStation library. The audio is also unreasonably loud, and its constant loop of the same theme makes you turn down the volume after a short while.
Despite all this, the one reason to endure playing is the ability to earn another Platinum trophy with ease. I managed to achieve this in six hours, but with the above tips, you could complete it earlier.
Also, I was pleasantly surprised at the ending of the Story Mode, which comes with two cutscenes. If you win the race as one of the human characters, The Grim Reaper will succumb to retirement. However, if you play as and win as the Grim Reaper, there appears to be a hint of a sequel, along with a list of famous characters to be included. If the developers are going to pursue with this project, I hope the game goes into overhaul into a better version.