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12 May 2023

REVIEW: Final Apex - Xbox

Review by Jon Donnis
Back once again with a brand-new review, this time for futuristic racing game Final Apex. First let's accept that the developers made a monumental mistake with the name of the game, not because Final Apex is a bad name or anything, I like the name, but when there is a big budget game out there called Apex Legends, who are paying search engines millions to put their game at the top of any search result for anything using the word "Apex" then you have a problem.

Despite the poor name choice, Final Apex is actually a fun little arcade racer. This is all game and no messing about, it reminds me very much of the kind of arcade game you might find in an airport arcade. You sit down, put your coin in, click start and within seconds you are racing away. Except here there are no coins to put in.

Once the game loads up you have three choices. Career, Series or Test Drive.

Since Test Drive is obvious, we will ignore that one for now.

Career mode has you choosing a track, then you choose your vehicle, the cars colour, and then away you go. In career mode, races have a running start. Try to finish the race as high up the pack as you can, and with as fast a time as you can. When you have completed the race, you can choose the next one. Tracks and Cars are locked until you have enough points. There are 7 cars in total to drive, and a huge 70 tracks to race on.

In series mode, you complete in a "season" of races, so season one is 10 races, and each race earns you points on a league board. Races in this mode start with a random selection of grid position, and then a standing start.

Both these modes are fun to play, and will keep you busy for a fair amount of time.

Onto the gameplay itself, whenever I play an Indie Racing Game, I always fear that they will get the basics of the game wrong, that being the handling of the car, so I was pleasantly surprised how much fun this game is and how much fun it is to race the car. Handling is a joy, skidding round corners is a lot of fun, the game feels super-fast, everything handles well. Now there are some issues, go slightly off track and you are punished a lot with the car slowing down, I think this needs changing, as we all like to cut corners a bit, but just slightly off track and you are punished. The cars themselves are basically indestructible which is fine in an arcade racer, however collisions with other cars feels terrible and not at all natural. Again, I can forgive that as this is a racer, but collision in a racing game is an important thing, and I think that you either have magnificent crashes, or you don't. And I think this game misses a trick here.

I understand the game is set in the near future, and the graphics themselves are decent, but everything feels a bit dark. Maybe this is on purpose, but I would have liked a bit more colour and brightness in the game. Oh, and the music is terrible, feels like something lifted out of the 1990s.

So yes I do have some complaints about the game, but the single most important factor of an arcade racer is if it is fun to play, and damn Final Apex is a fun game to play, it is truly a pick up and play game, controls are simple and straight forward, steer, accelerate and brake, and that's it, that is all that is needed too. I never felt like it was missing anything in the handling or driving aspects.

The Good
This is a FUN game to play, simple as that. It might not have a lot of depth of options, but it really doesn't need them. It is a racing game that is fun to play. That is a massive win for me!

The Bad
Crappy music, so turn that off, problem solved. Not keep on collisions, or putting a wheel offroad slowing you down.

It is easy to pick holes in Indie Racing Games like this, and I have picked a few, but the most important thing is that this game is fun, and I will keep playing it, that is all that matters, and as such I will score Final Apex a solid 8/10.

Out Now on Xbox

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