The best mode in Onrush, a new game from the ex-Sony team that made MotorStorm and Driveclub, is one of those ideas so decadent in design it’s a wonder it works at all, let alone as well as it does. Remember arcade racing games with checkpoint timers? Imagine that, except you’re on a team sharing a timer, battling against another team sharing another timer. You drive through gates across wide-open tracks to top up your team's clock a few precious seconds at a time, all the while trying to take out members of the other team Burnout-style so their timer runs out first.
It’s chaotic and brilliant, which mostly describes Onrush as a whole.
I don’t know how Onrush ever got made, but I’m glad it did, and I hope it does well. There’s room for racing games beyond the steely seriousness of Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport or the loose open-world approach of Need for Speed and Forza Horizon. Onrush harkens back to a time when getting behind a virtual wheel was your ticket to a weirder, wilder range of experiences. And when you careen into yet another enemy motorbike, causing your team to squeak through to a victory with less than a half-second left on the clock, you’ll yell at the TV — happily, not angrily — and feel blessed by the unlikely existence of this madcap masterpiece.
Onrush is out now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A PC version is planned for a later date.