Krautscape, from Mario Von Rickenbach, separates itself from the rest of the racing genre by letting players procedurally generate tracks — there are no set tracks in Krautscape, and every single track you race on will be unique. Combine that with an interesting take on course altering power-ups, and Krautscape is an early-access game ripened to pique the curiosity of racing fans.
Krautscape splits the road into four sections; each section corresponding to the type of track the player will lay next. For instance, driving in the middle of it will lead to the next portion of the track being a straight, and if the player is adventurous, driving on the edge will create a very sharp turn to the left or right. Although falling off the course is a possibility, adding a risk and reward factor to creating sharp turns.
Krautscape’s other interesting mechanic is the ability to change from a car to a glider at will. Traditional lap racing wouldn’t work with the unpredictability procedurally generated tracks create combined with a vehicle that can switch from driving to gliding. Therefore, Kraustcape ditches that idea altogether in favor of three different modes that take advantage of the interchangeability of the Krautos (the name of the vehicle in Krautscape). Every game mode can be played in a variety of ways including online, offline, split-screen, and even a LAN option is available.
The snake mode was my favorite, and the most fleshed out of the three; essentially it is cat and mouse, with players trailing each other in order to be the first to pass through fifty gates. This is where the ability to glide and circumvent a majority of the track comes into play. If a player gets a lead it is almost impossible to catch them from behind, gliding is an excellent tool that balances the uncertainty that comes with player controlled procedural generation.
Not all races are landslides in Krautscape though, and when races are close, players can use various power-ups that must be driven over throughout the course. Take the loop, for example, that causes a massive loop to appear on the course adding another layer of inconsistency to the game. The problem with some of these power-ups, however, has a lot to do with the game’s controls. They are by all means functional at this point in Krautscape’s development, but traveling through a loop at a high-speed, then proceeding into a sharp turn is near impossible. I found myself sliding off the course whenever I encountered a loop — luckily, I could easily glide my way back to the track, but it was tedious, nonetheless. The same problem occurred with several other defensive, course altering power-ups, but like said the game is in early-access, and the power-ups are interesting, even though the game’s controls get in the way at times. I have the utmost faith the final product will get rid of some of these issues.
Krautscape is an ambitious racing game with a captivating aesthetic; it is an inventive, artistic brush to the racing genre’s canvas, which is overwrought with mascot kart racers and complicated driving simulations. Krautscape, even in early-access, is replete with potential.