Battle Royale games like Fortnite and PUBG are all fine and well, and the huge following that each one gets speaks for itself, but sometimes you just wish that you could step inside your armored car and destroy the opposition while drifting in style. That is exactly what you can do in Skybound’s Notmycar, a vehicular Battle Royale game where there is no such thing as walking or running.
Your goal in Notmycar is obviously to be the last man… I mean, last car standing. Mixing the thrills of the addictive Battle Royale gameplay with the excitement of a Twisted Metal game, Notmycar is fast, furious and just that little bit nuts.
Cars with Wings? I’ve Seen It All
The recent test drive beta weekend allowed us to sit in one of the cars and get a taste of Notmycar’s relentless action. You start by choosing one of the two available cars, picking between a Mustang and an armored buggy, with additional skins available at the in-game store and more vehicles unlocking as you gain experience and complete daily challenges – there’s a cop car skin in case you want to play as the good guy, not that there is one in this game anyway. After a few rounds, I couldn’t really tell any explicit differences between the two vehicles, as both seemed to be paired in terms of speed and maneuverability. Ultimately, it all comes down to what you scavenge in the battlefield.
Oddly enough, the vehicles never seem to flip over no matter how foolish your driving is or how insane your aerial stunts are. The most that happens is standing in two wheels for a few seconds, before the vehicle is pushed back to the ground by some invisible force. Probably more of a design choice than a bug or missing feature, this keeps you moving and reduces the frustration that may arise from frequent overturns.
Matches in Notmycar start just as in any other Battle Royale – an airplane flies over a vast island and every player drops into this enormous playfield at the press of a button. Think Fast & Furious 7 but instead of parachutes, we get some cool wings to pop out from the car as you steer it closer to the spot where you wish to land. A perfect landing will get you speeding in no time, but more often than not you will botch the landing by crashing into a building or a bridge. Not too worrisome, as the start of each match leaves you enough time to recover from an initial mistake and get up and running, searching for items.
The fast cars and bumpy terrain provide the necessary ingredients for a game that must remain unpredictable every step of the way. The cars veer towards an arcade style handling, behaving in a somewhat loose, floaty kind of manner. It takes some time to get used to it, but soon enough you will be dodging trees and rocks like there’s no tomorrow. Or no next round, for that matter.
Notmycar, Not My Problem
As soon as you drop into the map, it’s a crazy rush searching for weapons, armor parts, abilities and items. The first two of these come in colored tiers for easier identification: yellow is legendary, purple is epic, blue is rare, green is uncommon, and white is common. You can pick up to two different weapons and switch between them at any times, with the selection ranging from SMGs, Rail Guns, Machine Guns, Gatling Guns, Rocket Launchers and even Sniper Rifles with zoom scope. You can change the perspective for a first-person hood view with any weapon in case you need better accuracy, or for those movie-like moments when you’re being frantically chased and must drive blindly, taking shots at every pursuer and hoping that there isn’t a tree or a barrier coming your way.
Weapons can be improved through several upgrades such as faster reload, better accuracy and faster aiming, among others. For your primary and secondary abilities, the choice is also expansive including the extremely useful cloak or shield, but you can grab other bonuses such as smoke, EMP blast, super boost, proximity mine or armor repair, to name only a few. A special mention goes to a portable giant ramp that you can summon anytime for… well, flying high, I guess? It may turn out to be useful as you further explore the map and discover some legendary items in weird places, and the ramp may help you to reach those higher places. It takes a lot of rummaging through the map locations, though, so the ramp is not immediately going to be everyone’s number one choice.
A handy arrow will always let you know you if the pickup will improve or reduce your overall strength and armor, so you must pay attention to these before you decide to swap your current parts or abilities for new ones.
Notmycar isn’t just about shooting rival cars, it’s also about not getting blown up to smithereens. This takes skill but first and foremost, some good, robust armor gear. There are four armor parts that you can choose, also presented in colored tiers: Chassis, Wheels, Engine and Hood. The better the parts, the stronger the car is, visible in the blue bar that sits in the bottom left corner of the screen. There are two more bars, the green one for health and orange for boosters.
Just as it happens in every good Battle Royale, occasionally there are helicopters that drop loot caches into the battlefield. These are easily recognizable by the intense red smoke that makes them visible miles away, and the material inside is often worth the trouble. You’re usually in for a legendary item or weapon, although it can get somewhat difficult to pick up the one that you want, given the overlap between the various items. Naturally, these caches are as tempting as they are treacherous, working as a sort of bait for the most inattentive players. Make sure to check your surroundings before making the jump to that legendary weapon, as it could mean your demise.
Obviously, as time goes by the playing area becomes smaller as the circle shrinks, and the wall forces the remaining players closer together, which is a staple of the genre (cars or no cars).
Mad to the Max
The island in Notmycar is significantly large as to not feel like you are driving around in circles. There is a nice verticality to the terrain and it won’t be uncommon to see a car right up there on the hill, silently gazing over the terrain like a predator, trying to spot other vehicles, or prey. There are several locations to scavenge and battle including a quarry, an airfield, a refinery, a couple of beaches and several assorted buildings, mostly garages and warehouses.
Seeing as the current version of Notmycar is a work-in-progress, we can’t properly judge on a few aspects of the game, but we’ll throw it out there anyway. The map features some destructible elements such as fences or road signs, but it’s mostly static otherwise. I wouldn’t mind seeing my devastating weapons causing more damage to the environment, especially considering the barrage of bullets and plasma shots that those garage doors and trees are capable of sustaining. Give me Notmycar with an engine capable of causing the mayhem seen in games such as Red Faction: Guerrilla or Far Cry 2 and I would be a very happy car… er, man indeed.
The island could also benefit from some added activity and random hazards. Everything seems to be somewhat stale and lifeless, despite its beauty and riveting sunshine, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some more ‘life’ to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for Notmycar to become Carmageddon or something, but considering the train tracks, for example, it would be fun to see a train running and eventually crashing into a hapless player vehicle. This would be the sort of arbitrary happening that makes a match memorable for the ages and worth sharing with your friends.
The vehicles seem to lack any sort of damage model as well. I’m not talking about an in-depth damage system that includes engine failure or punctured tires (although I wouldn’t mind it), but something akin to a cosmetic effect. Crashing into a tree at breakneck speed or getting hit with a rocket could at least leave a small dent, but the vehicles remain just the same as they were when they left the airplane.
Once again, these are small details that don’t detract from the fun and competent mechanics that Notmycar already shows, but they would eventually help take the game to the next level. Who knows, eventually Skybound’s continued development and player feedback will end up seeing the inclusion of these and other features in Notmycar.
As it stands right now, Notmycar is a lot of fun and shows tremendous potential. I enjoyed my time driving around the island and exploring every nook and cranny, using the boosters to jump off every ramp in my way, but it takes some real skill to drive and aim simultaneously. This is shaping up to be one for the competitive crowd, but casual players can also have a lot of fun with it. In the end, Notmycar will surely be a valid entry in one of the most crowded genres of recent times.Related: Article, Battle Royale, Multiplayer, notmycar, Preview, Racing, Skybound Games