Developed By : Eden Games
Published By : Microids
Category : Racing/Sports
Release Date : Nov 21, 2017
Exclusive to the Switch console, Gear.Club Unlimited appears at a glance to be Nintendo’s equalizer. Microsoft players have Forza, Sony get’s Gran Turismo. Here on the Switch we get…this. Promising to put the player in the driver seat of almost three dozen of the world’s fastest super cars. Can Nintendo’s stab at it’s first exclusive simulation-style racing game put it on the map? There’s not much story to talk about here because the whole point of it is to go vroom vroom! So, instead, let us focus on the things that would matter the most about a game like this. The cars, the tracks, and how it handles for you, the player.
The games ultimate final count of cars that you can unlock and purchase is 32. Included in these ranks are the likes of Alfa Romeo 4C, 2015 Ford Mustang GT, some McLaren’s, BMW’s. Even at the “low end” of the list of cars, you’ll find some of the world’s most luxurious and fastest cars. And every single one of them looks stunning. Gear.Club is rendered so beautifully, with such attention paid to these cars. Between races you’re able to mess around with them in your workshop/garage space, and while here you can open the doors, peek under the hood. Get up close and personal with just about every square inch of your car.
All the cars are broken up into classes A, B, C, and D, with subgroups narrowing them down even further than this. Each class and subgroup is restricted to it’s own level of races, so it won’t be enough to have any A class car, you’ll specifically need an A2 car to participate in those races. You’ll be provided with a garage space to, so your cars can be upgraded further with performance parts, as well as cosmetic things such as bumpers and rear spoilers. Certain upgrades will need have a prerequisite that needs to be upgraded first, for instance you can’t install a new gearbox until you first upgrade your engine.
One thing I noticed long ago with racing games, is they try and trick you by promising an incredibly high number of tracks to race on. When in reality, all they mean is you have a much smaller number of tracks, but each can be altered with dozens of layout changes, with each layout counting as it’s own track. Well…I guess technically it is, but you see how it can be tricky. Gear.Club Unlimited does this, but in a slightly different tricky way, touting 400 races for you. And, that’s what you get. The games career spans over 400 races, and that’s about it.
It’s hard to determine exactly how many tracks there are. You’ll visit a number of different regions, all of which are rendered just as beautifully as the cars are. Through cities, alongside waterways, in the woods, mountains. This game will bring you to all sorts of locations, but there’s not a lot of difference from track to track. In the whole first area, I felt like I was racing the exact same course through almost a dozen different races, only experiencing minor differences in corners, or the good old-fashioned “reverse” track method. And don’t expect much difference for racing styles either. You’ll be treated to traditional lap races, rally style races, and time trials where all you have to do is compete against ghost cars.
How It Feels
Right off the bat, you’ll get popped behind the wheel of a McLaren to introduce you to the games controls. Gear.Club utilizes traditional racing controls that you’ll find on other consoles. Triggers to gas and brake, and e-brake button. You can even treat yourself with the game’s rewind feature, that will let you zip back a handful of seconds to correct any mistakes you might have made on the track. What’s most fun though is the fact that the game makes use of the Switch’s HD Rumble feature. If your car experiences any bumping or collisions, you’ll feel it respectively in the controller, with the front of your car being more to the top of the joy-cons.
Where the game falls apart a bit though is it’s actual driving handling. Accelerating and braking feel and respond just fine, but turning feels quite stiff and sometimes slow to respond. It’s only by fractions of a second, but it’s enough to completely throw off how you want to turn unless this is the first simulation racing game you’re getting your hands on.
Overall, the game really isn’t that bad. While it comes up short on the number of cars and race types, Gear.Club Unlimited is still a great game to play. I honestly expected a lot worse from the simulation racer, but I was thoroughly pleased with what I experienced. The career is quite lengthy, so it’ll keep racing fans plenty busy. Personally, I loved messing around with the garage area. It took on an almost matchbox-car style approach. Your garage can have a number of different areas to focus on things like performance parts, cosmetics, tires and brakes. To move your car from one area to another you just simply have to pick it up and plop it down somewhere else.
If this game is to turn into a whole franchise, it definitely has a long ways to go before it can stand up tall with it’s brethren on the other consoles, but for a first push out of the gate Gear.Club is a blast for anyone who likes zipping around on four wheels. It’s also not surprising to make note of the fact that Eden Games has, in the past, worked on the Test Drive Unlimited games so…it’s not their first time behind the wheel.