Onrush is a bit of an oddball. An arcade racer with no traditional races, the focus is squarely on contributing towards team-based objectives. There are no laps or checkered flags; this game is gunning for something a little different. By combining the high-speed, high-risk thrills of games like Burnout, Motorstorm, and SSX with modern multiplayer elements akin to Overwatch and Rocket League, this is a unique spin on the genre that, crucially, is a heck of a lot of fun in practice.
We were able to play a few matches of Countdown, one of Onrush's four modes. Each team has a meter that depletes over time, and your main aim is to keep your team's meter topped up by driving through checkpoints as you thunder across the track. You can perform takedowns on enemy cars to prevent them from earning more time, or simply shunt them away from checkpoints. It's fast, frantic, and most importantly, fun.
There's an element of strategy to choosing your vehicle (which can be swapped if you crash), with bikes being the most nimble classes at the expense of strength, whereas you can do a lot more damage with larger cars, such as the Enforcer. Each class has a Rush ability (think Overwatch's ultimates); as well as boosting you to top speed, these have team-based benefits, such as the Dynamo's power to give boost to nearby teammates, or creating a slippery path behind you to make things trickier for the opposition with the Vortex.
One of the game's best ideas, though, is the stampede system, which essentially means you're never missing out on the action. If you crash or fall too far behind, you're respawned right in the thick of it, and with the fodder vehicles doubling the number of vehicles to 24, it feels like a huge, constant setpiece on wheels. It's unabashedly arcadey. The presentation amplifies this, too, with impressive, colourful visuals and a dynamic soundtrack that affords it an SSX-like tone.
We were also told about the other modes in Onrush. Overdrive is the headline act, and basically has you driving as recklessly as you can in order to earn boost, which you then use to earn points for your team. Switch is a little like Call of Duty's Gun Game; everyone starts on a bike, and if you're taken out, you respawn in the next class up. The final game mode is Lockdown, which is similar to King of the Hill, but with moving capture points.
While we didn't get to sample these modes for ourselves, what we played of Countdown proved that objective based modes can work very well in an arcade racer. The main concern for now is whether there is enough depth to Onrush to keep players interested. The constant speed and barrage of metal is exciting, but we need to play more to better understand the game's systems. Luckily, we won't have to wait too long -- an open beta next month will give us another chance to play before release, and the game's launch isn't far away either, on 5th June. For now, though, we're very impressed by what we've played, and we can't wait to get our hands on it again.
Onrush is a bombastic, entertaining arcade racer that's pushing the genre in new directions. Hopefully the gameplay has the depth to keep people playing beyond the initial adrenaline rush, but early signs are strong. Will you be playing the open beta in May? Do you think it looks smashing, or is it going to crash and burn? Boost down to the comments below.