Formula Fusion Has Come A Long, Long Way

Image: Kotaku

You know those types of games that you just cannot but help buy, no matter how much your brain tells you otherwise? That's me with anything that looks like WipEout. If it's going at several hundred kilometres a second and looks like it's hovering above a track somewhere, poof. Money out of the wallet, even though I almost always end up regretting it.

Case in point: Formula Fusion. When it first launched in Early Access, I dropped $36 straight away. $36 on a game that barely had a UI, had one track, one ship and not much else. It's just gotten a mammoth update, and holy hell has the game come a long way in a year.

April 24, 2015. A project launches on Kickstarter. It's pitched as a love letter to WipEout, one of the greatest anti-gravity racing games of all time. It's from a group of British developers called R8 Games, some of whom — as is always the case with these things — were credited on WipEout. They didn't say which WipEout games, not that it mattered.

Formula Fusion raised a touch over $140,000, almost double the original goal. Here's an idea of what it looked like.

That was then. This is Formula Fusion now.

Image: Kotaku
Image: Kotaku
Image: Kotaku
Image: Kotaku
Image: Kotaku

Apart from looking a lot sharper — although the Niagra Falls could use some work there — Formula Fusion now has a bit of structure. When you first open the game, you're asked to pick from one of several racing teams. Each team has three separate ships, and you can individually upgrade all the parts: shields, handling, speed, so on and so forth.

Image: Kotaku
Image: Kotaku
Image: Kotaku

There's even an Australian-themed team called Southern Star that was supposedly formed through a "loose association" of groups including former Hells Angels bikies. How the Hells Angels would end up ditching motorcycles for anti-gravity racing is beyond me, but hey, it's the future right?

Perhaps the best part is the name for the organisation funding Southern Star — the "Melbourne Antigravity Division for Information Technology". Or MAD4IT.

Image: Kotaku

Sounds like a name you'd see at DEFCON, not the race track.

In any case, Formula Fusion has still got a long way to go. But the pieces are starting to come together. Four tracks are available to race on now, and the sense of speed — particularly on the narrower tracks — is precisely what you'd want from a spiritual successor to Wipeout. And it's worth remembering that The Designer Republic are helping R8 out with Formula Fusion, adding their touch of futuristic styling that any anti-gravity racer needs.

The game still needs some optimisation. There are plenty of elements not implemented, and there's more work to be done on the overarching campaign. But Formula Fusion has come a long way. It might not be the Wipeout HD on PC I've always wanted, but it's getting there. And who knows? Sometimes all you need to give a game is a little bit of time — and a bit of faith.

Formula Fusion is currently available in Early Access for $26.30 ($US19.99).


    Yeah I bought it pre Early access and I'm looking forward to where this is going :)

    The new update is pretty good. The controls are much improved, but it still feels a little auto-pilot-y for my tastes. The new music, however, is brilliant. Some awesome Psytrance vibes going on there.

    It's still not a patch on BallisticNG for me though :)

    Last edited 01/08/16 3:31 pm

    Check out GRIP. Also on steam early access

    I'm both a TPP member and backed the project at a very high level, and in regards to Wipeout, have some of the fastest times in the world.

    So it pains me to say that from a handling perspective, the game keeps regressing. The first build after Kickstarter was fantastic, with fast, fluid movement that promoted very quick, precise laps. Almost classic Wipeout. With the later builds, craft size has increased without tracks becoming larger, and craft have a tendency to dip into corners rather than slide, making the game an exercise in bumpercraft frustration.

    I feel bad writing this, as Wipeout style games are a rarity (especially on PC where I prefer to play), but I can't reiterate how much I've stopped looking forward to this game.

    Last edited 02/08/16 9:14 am

      Have you tried BallisticNG out? It's almost exactly old WipEout as it was back in the day... the controls are damned good, and the course design gets better and better with every update. It's free on Steam, and it's brilliant :)

        I certainly do. But the graphics are so bad :\. lol. But I'll take gameplay over graphics anyday of the week :).

          I don't think the graphics are so much bad, as stylistically old, haha. I really dig the clean lines, baked-in lighting and smooth framerates. Yeah, it's definitely got it going in in regards to gameplay. The tracks are pretty great too, definitely lifted from the old-school WipEout philosophies :)

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