Bite-sized Review:
What the Car?

Developer: Triband

Release Date: 9 September, 2024

Platform: Windows, Linux, MacOS

Genre: Racing

By Chris Picone, 05 June 2024

Okay - I feel dirty putting this under "racing" game but I guess it's the closest fit.  You're racing against time rather than competitors but the races are... a little unusual.  And ridiculous. Always fun, and often quite funny. 


What the Car? features childish, cartoony graphics - low poly and lots of bright colours. It's silly, looks great, and suits the mood of the game perfectly.   The game also features a good range of environments; all the usual stuff in forests, dirt tracks, ice, urban, and so on, and an impressive overworld for level selection.  There are also plenty of little details in each of the levels that keep it all interesting, the whole game's surprisingly polished.  The music's great and the game's full of suitably silly sound effects that somehow don't get annoying. 


Every level is a very short race against a clock, but in which you have some bizarre mechanic or challenge thrown at you.  Usually it revolves around your car's capacity for movement, which includes basically anything except wheels.  Legs of all sizes, quantities, and arrangements feature.  Also, sometimes your legs are giraffes.  You'll also "drive" around with jetpacks, water cannons, on stilts... it's all very silly.  And the car itself changes from time to time too, sometimes growing very wide or long, adding additional challenges as you try to navigate the track. What really makes this work is that every track has been carefully crafted for whatever driving mechanism happens to be involved, and includes tons of speedups, jumps, and all manner of obstacles.  And what really makes it fun is that the game is loaded, Mariokart-style, with tons of extra "secret" shortcuts or alternative ways to complete tracks, and sometimes exploration is needed to find unlocks hidden around the stage - but remember you're competing against the clock.  Finally, some of the races are more like mini-games; I particularly enjoyed the crossy road and foosball levels.



While it looks like What the Car? is aimed at kids - and it probably is - I'm very much an adult and I enjoyed it.  It was silly, it was fun, it'd make a great party game.  If you're looking for a serious racing game, this ain't it, but if you're just here for a bit of a laugh and a good time, this is the game for you.