We live in a time of gaming typified by a distinct lack of second controllers. Internet gaming, DLC, massive connectivity, cinematic storytelling and gorgeous graphics, for sure, but two player, sitting-in-the-same-room, split-screen gaming feels like a thing of the past. Exit player two (unless you buy a second controller or plump for a better console package, admittedly). Enter Coffin Dodgers, which, like its geriatric heroes, feels like a ruddy-cheeked throwback to the good old days. Mario Kart, Street Racer and Crash Team Racing; all titles that they just don’t seem to make for PlayStation or Xbox these days, a type of gaming that barely seems to exist anymore.
Here we have a selection of lively grannies and granddads, challenging the Grim Reaper (actually Death himself) to a series of mobility scooter races around their retirement village. Like Street Racer, you can twat away your fellow racers and opponents with your cane – and like Mario Kart (the game’s strongest influence) you can pick up power-ups (machine guns, bombs and oil slicks, oh my) to help your cause or hamper others’. Outside of that, upgrades can be bought and installed to give your scooter the winning edge. Not that you’ll really need to: Coffin Dodgers is embarrassingly easy at times.
A variety of modes help disguise the fact that there’s little variety to the game. It boasts a single player campaign, online multiplayer (and old fashioned split screen, if you happen to be rich enough to own a second controller) and free-roaming (a series of Crazy Taxi or Die Hard with a Vengeance type search & collect missions ruined by a useless navigation system). All are decent enough, but get old very fast. Between this, the infuriatingly repetitive music and PS2 (or even really good PS1) level graphics, one would imagine Coffin Dodgers ready for the grave already.
And yet! Between its silly story and staggeringly cheap looking visuals, it’s undeniably a lot of fun, roaring around colourful streets and zipping through subterranean race tracks. Simple gameplay mechanics make it easy to pick up and play; a good one to dip in and out of in-between more substantial gaming sessions, then. Coffin Dodgers is undeniably a generation or two behind, and it’s certainly a little on the doddery side – but don’t write it off just yet. There’s life in this old dog yet.
COFFIN DODGERS / DEVELOPER & PUBLISHER: MILKY TEA STUDIOS / PLATFORMS: PC, PS4, XBOX 1 / RELEASE DATE: 8TH JULY