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12 Jun 2022

REVIEW: Disney Speedstorm PC - Beta Test

Review by Jon Donnis
I was invited to try the new Disney Speedstorm Closed Beta Test on PC. I kind of wish I wasn't now.
Speedstorm is made by Gameloft, and runs pretty similar in style to other Gameloft games like Asphalt 8 and so on. The basic model of the game is free, but there are lots of micro transactions. But as with the other Gameloft games, you can still play it without paying, but you might be limited to how many times before your energy runs out etc.

At first look you may think this is a Mario Kart style game, but for PC, well get that out of your head. Even though you might drive "Karts", this is very much a Mobile style game.

You play the game on circuits inspired by Disney and Pixar worlds, and you can play with a collection of characters from those franchises. The biggest name of which is Mickey Mouse. And yes, you have to put up with his god-awful voice too.

Some of the levels include the docks from Pirates of the Caribbean's Pirates Island and the wilds of The Jungle Book's Jungle Ruins map.

The game will run in "Seasons" with new content and challenges dropping with each new season release.

As with similar arcade racers, you accelerate with the right trigger on a gamepad, and break/drift with the left trigger. You have a boost button for when your meter fills up, giving you a short boost of speed, you have a jump/trick button, which allows you to jump your vehicle, or if flying off a ramp can let you do a barrel roll. You can also collect offensive and defensive weapons, drop a mine, fire a weapon, short teleport forwards and a shield are the ones that come to mind so far.

The levels each have set challenges to complete, come first, use a full boost 3 times, do a trick, the usual stuff. The levels start easy and as they get harder, you will need to upgrade your vehicle to stay competitive, you do this through collecting "Shards" during normal races.

Now let's get down to business. The Closed Beta Testing has been something of a disaster, the vast majority of people are unable to even start the game, I also struggled, but then tried a few compatibility tricks, (run in Windows 8 Mode, with Admin privileges on, restart PC) and that seemed to help to get the game to run. Very long load times, a buggy interface that crashes often, so don't try exploring the menus too much. The races themselves are ok, when it is running, it all looks great, but often things freeze for a half a second before starting again. 

It truly seems insane to me that they would push out this game for Closed Beta Testing when it should still be in internal alpha testing. Surely the developers aren't learning anything they wouldn't know if they just played the game themselves for 5 minutes.

Disney also has been having a terrible time recently PR wise. With multiple employees being arrested and charged with sex crimes against children, their opposition to an anti-grooming bill, which comes as no surprise considering who they employ, and the fact they are about to lose a lot of powers in Florida with the park there. So the fact that their name, logo and characters are associated to this game is damaging to not only Gameloft, but this poor start is damaging to Disney too.

The only saving grace is that the game when it is ready will be free, it will be available on all formats, and it will run smooth by the time it gets a console release, since they are much stricter on releases than Steam.

The Good
It is a free arcade racer, with recognisable characters from your favourite Disney films.

The Bad
At its base it is an Asphalt 8 clone, that is no where near as good as said game, oh and it has Mickey Mouse in it, who I hate.

Terrible start. Should never have left internal Alpha testing, and has pissed off a lot of people excited to play a PC based Kart racing game.

I score Disney Speedstorm an unplayable 2/10. (The 2 is purely if you can get the game running, the tracks do look nice)

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