Gameloft, known for its Asphalt series, has released a new racing game, Disney Speedstorm, which is its second PC and console game using the Disney license. While staying true to its expertise in crafting well-made racing games, it appears that some of the mobile market’s confusing microtransaction baggage has crept into the game design.
As a racer, Disney Speedstorm instantly feels like a veteran kart racer with its well-calibrated drifting mechanics and sharp cornering. However, what sets it apart from other racing games is the variety of characters, each with their own classes and special abilities. These individual characters also have their own unique powers, which make each racer feel different, even within the same class. The cars themselves have little personality, though slight touches of characterization attempt to differentiate them.
Another unique aspect of the game is Crews – support characters, recognizable from their respective movies and cartoons, who can be equipped with the racer to boost certain stats.
Each character has been given a Speedstorm makeover, which works well enough but can be inconsistent. The animated human characters, like the Disney princesses, often look slightly off and less visually interesting than the other racers. On the other hand, the tracks take inspiration from the movie properties and are bursting with clever bits of character and upbeat, jazzy remixes of popular Disney songs.
Each track type features several courses, with the game mechanics introducing some alternate modes. However, some track types are much more inventive than others, and the game designers could have put more focus on creating captivating tracks.
While the game mechanics are fun and well-designed, the game’s progression gating is frustrating. The game seems aimed at pushing players into the various other modes and completing the Starter Circuit. Still, without the requisite upgrade material to level up, players can quickly find themselves stuck and unable to progress. The confusing menu and multiple currencies cause further frustration.
The timed events are particularly frustrating to players as they block access to rewards when the player only has a limited time to achieve them, which feeds into the game’s reliance on multiple currencies.
Overall, Disney Speedstorm is a well-made racing game, particularly brought to life by the recognizable Disney characters, Crews, and tracks. However, the microtransaction model and confusing menu systems detract from the game’s enjoyment.