Fuel: Overdose delivers an interesting style of gameplay, combining aspects of a variety of very different game and cramming them into some sort of post-apocalyptic video game smoothie. The core of the game revolves around various races through some of our world’s most notable locations including New York, Las Vegas, Cairo, Praha and Kyoto. These areas have been altered drastically by what the story calls Downfall Day and it’s interesting to see how each area was affected.
Races are pretty unique in that players are able to attack other vehicles with a variety of weapons in their quest to finish first. A wide variety of weaponry can be purchased in the shop before each race but it’s the player-specific moves that really make the biggest impression. Each available character has certain moves they can use in combat, including an ominous special attack that usually acts as a major move that can instantly turn the tide of any race. An interesting aspect of these moves is the way they’re activated. Instead of simply assigning a button to the move, players are tasked with doing specific thumb stick configurations, similar to that of a combo in a fighting game. Grappling is also a key feature of racing, allowing players to pull a Batman and grapple onto a corner to swing themselves around it without losing any speed. Players can also grapple cars ahead of them to help bridge the gap between them or to aid in lining up a crucial attack.
One major issue players may expect when taking a first glance at Fuel: Overdose is the fact that the races are viewed from a bird’s eye perspective. While the camera often dances around corners and flows along with the player during these races, it can get a tad annoying at times and makes for a very bumpy playing experience. It’s like having a second player suddenly jerk one of your thumb sticks, causing the camera to suddenly veer to the left as you come around the next bend.
When it comes to PSN titles, state of the art graphics are not usually something budgets allow for. As a top down racer, Fuel: Overdose isn’t the shiniest game on the market but the anime style visuals, similar to that of a Japanese video game series such as Dragonball or Disgaea, give players a welcome dose of artistic pleasantry. That being said, the portion of the game that does feature 3D graphics are a bit grainy and seem to strangely contrast the rest of the game’s animations.
For a genre that scarcely has any real story to it whatsoever, Fuel: Overdose does a pretty good job at delivering a story that’s both unique (albeit somewhat reminiscent of The Hunger Games) and detailed. The story revolves around global warming on Earth. This drastic increase in global warming causes the birth of a new disease called ‘Lilith’ that basically wipes out most of the population within weeks. A cure is eventually created but the human body develops an addiction to the vaccine and the remainder of the world falls into a state of stereotypical post-apocalyptic chaos, which the developers call Downfall Day. The game picks up shortly after this and finds people competing for their fix of this addicting vaccine. After the world fell into chaos, a large group calling themselves Consortium took all the vaccine and make every other group race in their tournament to win a portion of the vaccine supply.
Locations in the game are also given a back story, which really helps add to the overall depth of game. These areas are notable locations in our modern day but have all been altered in completely different ways due to global warming. Whether a mostly submerged New York City or a Las Vegas buried in sand, the locations are dramatic and really compliment the dark tone of the game as a whole.
Fuel: Overdose has a strong focus on the playable characters; bright and expressive, these characters are very unique from each other. Currently, twelve playable characters are available to choose from with more potentially being added through future DLC packs. These characters include Rosa, Hayden, Lene, Ryuhei, Odessa, A.J., Noa, Hermod, Keegan, Alisha, Kanna and Boss, which range from a katana-wielding ninja to a brutish thug and everything in between, each with their own distinct personalities and stories. Sexuality plays a big role in the creation of these characters, with women scantily dressed and shaped to dream-like proportions and even the men in this game choosing their clothing carefully to show off their muscles.
Fuel: Overdose is an action-packed racing game that takes elements from all over and tries to fuse it seamlessly. Unfortunately, some of these elements just don’t quite blend and the result is a game that makes a good attempt but falls somewhat short of greatness. For its $9.99 price, it delivers enough to satisfy for a short while but players will only find this out by moving past a very frustrating first few hours of getting adjusted to the controls.